Rep. Shelley Berkley‘s got a new radio ad going up in Reno, a catchy tune about U.S. Sen. Dean Heller‘s most unique claim: that he proudly voted twice for the Rep. Paul Ryan budget. (Heller voted for the plan as a congressman, then again after being appointed to the U.S. Senate.) But the verbiage of the ad will be sure to resurrect claims that Berkley is repeating what PolitiFact called “the lie of the year,” i.e. ending (or, in this case, killing) Medicare.
Here’s the ad:
But the Ryan budget doesn’t end Medicare, kill Medicare, defeat Medicare or abolish Medicare. For seniors 55 years and older, the program is unchanged. For younger workers, it is transformed into a voucher-style system, which can accurately be described as ending Medicare as the program currently exists. That’s why PolitiFact has admonished Democrats from Vice President Joe Biden on down for using that verbiage.
In support of that claim, Berkley’s campaign points to an editorial in the Las Vegas Sun that quotes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling the Ryan budget “right-wing social engineering” but nonetheless accurately describes how the Ryan budget would treat Medicare. Although the Sun says the budget would “gut” Medicare, it never says the program would be ended under the Ryan budget.
Ironically enough, in the backup material for the ad, Berkley correctly cites materials that say the Ryan budget would “essentially” end Medicare, or “end Medicare as we know it,” words that PolitiFact described as more accurate when addressing the effects on the program. But those qualifiers never make it into the actual ad (perhaps they were too hard to make rhyme?). That will allow the Heller campaign to more easily dismiss this ad as untrue.