UYGUR: The memo is out. It‘s so out, even the Democrats got it. The Ryan plan to cut Medicare and lower taxes for the rich is a disaster for the Republicans. GOP law makers in their home districts have been getting an earful from voters who don‘t want them to privatize Medicare. And now, the Democrats are mobilizing that anger, and new democratic web video highlights republican freshmen who flip flopped on Medicare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAN BENISHEK ®, MICHIGAN: Social Security and Medicare are a promise we have made to our seniors. And I will keep that promise.
REP. SCOTT TIPTON ®, COLORADO: I‘ll never put or (INAUDIBLE) with no privatization, and no scaring our seniors.
REP. STEVE SOUTHERLAND ®, FLORIDA: We have been to fulfill our commitment to our seniors. The promises that we have made.
REP. RENEE ELLMERS ®, NORTH CAROLINA: Cutting Medicare, $500 million to pay for Obama care. That‘s wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Look at that tough ad from the Democrats. They just accused the Republicans of lying. When is the last time you saw that? And the progressive group, Americans United for Change is launching a campaign against lawmakers who backed the Ryan plan, starting with this TV ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Paul Ryan looks like a nice young man, but on April 15th, he thought to end Medicare, and its guaranteed health care benefits. He‘s ending Medicare, so millionaires can get another tax break? Really? Call Congressman Ryan and ask, what were you thinking?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: And now it looks like the Democrats and Congress are not about to let the Republicans off the hook either. Majority Leader Harry Reid will reportedly will schedule a vote on Ryan‘s plan in the Senate, forcing Republicans there to go on the record for ending Medicare or into voting against their own party‘s plan. That‘s what the idea that I love. Now, once so called moderate. Susan Collins of Maine just announced, she would not support the Ryan plan. So, here we go. The dissension begins. And tomorrow, House republican leaders are holding a conference call with nervous law makers. A GOP source tells National Journal, the calls to help law makers who quote, have been getting the crap kicked out of them in town hall‘s back home.
Music to my ears. I just checked out how agitated Congressman Sean Duffy got when a voter challenged him on Medicare at a town hall last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SEAN DUFFY ®, WISCONSIN: Let me tell you what, when you have your town hall, you can stand up and give your presentation. I call a name and we—if you just, I guess I owe everyone here a level of respect. You can ask me whatever questions, they‘re not always easy. I‘m doing the best job I can answer your questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Well, they don‘t like being challenged, when Democrats are being challenge, they love that, right? Now, many of the Republicans are so afraid they‘ve abort a schedule in town halls all together. Why? Because they‘ll know what they‘ll here. Every major poll taken on the last few weeks had shown overwhelming opposition to slashing Medicare. When‘s the last time you saw Republicans running for the hills like this? Look, when are they ever going to learn? Americans love their Social Security and Medicare, so stop trying to kill it.
Joining me now is Congressman Steve Israel, democrat, and from New York I had to say. And chairman of the Democratic National Congressional Campaign Committee. Congressman Israel, great to have you with us tonight.
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Great to be with you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, those ads and videos that Democrats and progressive groups put together are pretty tough. How much are you guys going press, is this going to be the main issue, going into 2012 saying, they voted to cut Medicare?
ISRAEL: Yes. The vote to terminate Medicare was the defining vote of this Congress, and we intent to hold Republicans accountable every day and in every way for that vote. They are right now trying to defend the indefensible. And the indefensible is, terminating the guaranteed Medicare benefit costing seniors an additional 12,000 in order to fund tax cuts for people making over a million dollars. It is indefensible vote, we‘ll going to hold them accountable. And were going to hold them accountable very aggressively.
UYGUR: And, you know, they said that the Democrats want to cut Medicare because of getting rid Medicare advantage. That‘s what they run on in 2010. That‘s what the DCCC ad shows, but Ryan‘s plan in a double or triple hypocrisy also gets rid of Medicare advantage, so how do they justify that?
ISRAEL: You know, every time I think that they have reach the hypocrisy limit, they prove me wrong. They proved to me that there are no boundaries for hypocrisy in the republican caucus. They spent an entire campaign falsely advertising to seniors that we were going to reduce Medicare. In fact, we increase the solvency of Medicare, we strengthen Medicare. And they say that their plan now to improve Medicare is to end Medicare. Well, guess what? There‘s a reason that every major poll in the country is showing us that seniors, and independents, Democrats and Republicans are absolutely rejecting the republican plan. They are not falling for this nonsense that ending Medicare is improving Medicare.
UYGUR: All right. Well, let me show you some poll numbers here citing this very important to the two parties obviously. In 2008, the Republicans got 53 percent of the senior vote, that 65 years and older. And then in 2010, they got 59 percent, so they had a significant jump up. Have they put that back in play for you, guys? For you to be able to go get that senior votes in 2012?
ISRAEL: They have put back into play two critical groups of the electorate, seniors and Independents. Look, the bottom line is that we lost seniors in 2010 and we lost about 9 million Independents in 2010. Now, we lost them because Republicans were effectively able to lie about us on Medicare. All we have to do to get them back is tell the truth about Republicans wanted to end Medicare. That‘s precisely what we‘re doing now. And what we‘re going to continue to do every day. And this isn‘t about politics by the way. This is about what defines Democrats and Republicans. This is about Democrats who were willing to stand up and continue Medicare but don‘t believe that we should Medicare to fund tax cuts for people making it over million dollars versus Republicans who are willing to cost seniors in additional $12,000 in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires. Under the Republican plan, if you‘re making over million dollars, you win the lotto. If you‘re a senior on Medicare, you lose your Medicare.
ISRAEL: That‘s what this is about. And we‘re going to keep this message going.
UYGUR: Now, Republicans say, wait a minute, our plan does not affect anybody over the age of 55. We‘re only planning to end Medicare for people under 55. Now, is that also partly an admission though on their part, that well, if they applied it to people over 55, they would be livid, right? So, let‘s just try to kill Medicare for people who might not notice.
ISRAEL: It‘s an absolute admission. You know, what they‘re saying is we know this is a bad idea. So we‘re going to wait for ten years for the bad idea to kick in. Well, you know, I‘ll be honest, I‘m 52-years-old. I paid into Medicare all my working life for decades and decades. And when it‘s time for me to receive Medicare, how is it fair that the government says, well, the Ryan plan denies you Medicare, we turn it over to the insurance companies and we‘re only going to cover you for some of the cost. That is not fair to people who have been paying into Medicare. There are better ways to balance budgets. We balance budgets by tightening our belts, by reducing spending. They balance budgets by eliminating Medicare for seniors and giving tax cuts for millionaires.
UYGUR: All right. Representative Steve Israel, thank you for joining us tonight.
ISRAEL: Thank you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, one progressive group that‘s mobilizing direct action against these lawmakers who voted to end Medicare is MoveOn.Org. Urging people to attend these town halls and call the politicians to account. Now, let me bring in Justin Ruben. Here‘s the executive director of MoveOn.Org. All right. Justin, what are you guys planning to do to mobilize those MoveOn activists at these town hall events.
JUSTIN RUBEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MOVEON.ORG: Well, you know, I think what we found is that when people know about this budget, as soon as people understand exactly what‘s going on, it actually is going to end Medicare to give a tax base to millionaires, people are outraged. And so, the first thing we‘ve been doing is giving people the information, and then, you know, we have members in basically every congressional district. MoveOn about 500 million people around the country, so they‘ve been scouring the newspaper looking for these town halls. And as soon as anybody finds out about them letting the other members MoveOn know through the network and sharing up this town halls to give people a piece of their mind.
UYGUR: Right. And we were just showing video there of the juxtaposition between what happened in 2009 to the Democrats and some Republicans. And to what‘s happening today. That‘s Ryan getting booed there. Now, other than having people in all the states, you also have a huge age group. Are you seeing seniors more mad at this plan even though when they apply to people over 55 or you‘re seeing people under 55 who get in there motivated?
RUBEN: You know, we‘ve been, basically, my experience has been everybody you talk to about this, when people know about it, they just get so angry. You know, I think it just doesn‘t match—it‘s not just that people are worried about, they might be worried about their parents, they‘re worried about what‘s going to happen to them, if they‘re 55. But, you know, and then you have senior citizens saying, you know, what about my grandkids? What about my children? And if they come after Medicare for them, who‘s to say they‘re not going to come after Medicare for me, too. So, I think that you know, the key thing, is that more people hear about this, the angrier they get to Republicans.
UYGUR: Now, Justin, some people will say, hey, look, those Koch brothers organized some of those plans, you know, where the Arlen Specter doing the famous thing we just say, wait a minute, wait a minute, right? And you guys are organizing bringing people the town hall events, so what‘s the difference?
RUBEN: Right. You know, there are two big differences, right? One is MoveOn is funded entirely by small donations. Millions of people around the country who donate whatever they can to make this happen. And this is, you know, it‘s pure grass roots democracy. People letting their neighbors and know about this town halls, and teaming up together to go and actually, and give Republicans a piece of their mind. I think the other thing is just, this is so far out of rack with America‘s priority. I mean, literally, we‘re going to take health caraway from old people in order to give tax breaks to corporations and rich people. You know, that‘s not where American voters are. That may be where the Koch brothers and other corporate backers Republican Party are at, but that is definitely not where the American people at. And this, you know, I think MoveOn members are squarely within the majority of the American people or saying, this is what we stand for.
UYGUR: Right. And my understanding is you personally are not going to gain from this plan, right? Because the Koch Brothers are like hey, we get rid at some of those stuff. They stand the game. And MoveOn obviously is fighting for your ideology. Right other wrong, people agree or disagree, but that‘s what‘s happening.
RUBEN: Yes. Absolutely.
UYGUR: All right. Justin, thank you so much for joining us.
RUBEN: Thank you very much.
UYGUR: Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org.