Democratic Senate candidate and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) went back to her roots for her latest ad, a moving tribute to her Grandfather entitled “Proud Man”. The ad takes aim at incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) votes to raise the costs of Medicare for seniors, an issue that hits home with a specific group of voters but in this ad, is also told in a way that resonates with anyone who has struggled or watched a loved one struggle financially due to a medical problem.
Team Mitch responded to the heartfelt American story by attacking Alison Lundergan Grimes as “using” her deceased Grandpa’s stroke.
The attack by McConnell reeks of desperation. Mitch McConnell followed up backing out a debate with his Democratic challenger by attacking her dead grandfather. With polls, except for the ones with a history of Republican bias, showing the Kentucky Senate election close, McConnell is starting to sweat and pull out all of the stops to drag this contest through the mud.
“Proud Man,” a statewide TV ad that features the personal story of Alison and her family after her grandfather Omar suffered a devastating stroke, began airing Thursday. Watch here:
Here’s why Team Mitch is nearing hysteria: Alison for Kentucky explained her new ad and it’s something pretty much everyone can relate to, “Alison saw the rug pulled out from under her family and the hard choices her grandmother Elsie had to make to survive. Alison has never forgotten the pain of that experience and how it shaped her perspective. In the U.S. Senate, Alison will fight to strengthen Medicare because she knows just how vital the program is to our seniors and families. Unlike Mitch McConnell, Alison will never support raising Medicare costs for Kentucky seniors. ”
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES:
I’m Alison Lundergan Grimes and I approved this message.
ELSIE CASE (her grandmother): My husband was a strong person. But the stroke just took everything away.
ALISON: I remember that day. When my mom called. The world stopped.
ELSIE: Seeing him in the emergency room, he knew that it was bad.
ALISON: My grandfather was a proud man who didn’t want to ask for help, but they needed it.
ELSIE: We scrimped. And saved. Cause suddenly our finances were going for medical bills.
ALISON: His last ten years, he couldn’t speak or work, and they could barely afford the medicines.
ELSIE: Our life became something else. No more vacations. No retirement. Just existing.
ALISON: This is why we have to strengthen Medicare. Senator McConnell’s voted over and over again to raise seniors’ Medicare costs. I’ll never do that.
Clearly alarmed by the fact that Grimes found a way around McConnell’s relentless attempts to falsely tie her to President Obama by going right to the heart of the matter, Team Mitch spokeswoman Allison Moore responded to Grimes’ latest ad with a callous statement accusing her of “using” her deceased grandfather’s stroke:
“It’s a touching family story about a familiar circumstance to many Kentucky families followed by a totally debunked partisan attack on Senator McConnell from an increasingly desperate Alison Grimes. Anyone who would use their grandfather’s stroke to reintroduce an attack that received the triple crown of fact check false ratings has run out of justification for their candidacy.”
Team Mitch are clearly hoping to shame Grimes out of discussing something personal that impacts most Americans at some point in their lives and thus is relevant to a policy debate.
Also, not exactly Team Mitch.
PolitiFact fact checked a specific Grimes’ campaign claim based on the Ryan budget made over the summer, and even they determined that yes, Mitch McConnell is on record supporting the Ryan budget (the one the Nuns called immoral because of the harm it would bring to vulnerable children, seniors, and more). This is the budget that even PolitiFact describes as changing Medicare fundamentally thusly: “Medicare would have undergone a drastic change for future retirees. Instead of the government paying doctors and hospitals for services they provide for seniors, beneficiaries would be given a voucher they could use to purchase private health insurance to cover their care.”
When you hear the word “voucher”, it’s time to check your back.
PolitiFact determined that the non partisan Congressional Budget Office found that “implementing the 2011 Ryan plan would lead to an increase in out-of-pocket costs for seniors. How much? Instead of paying 27 percent of all their health care costs, seniors would be paying about 61 percent.” So yeah, the figures used in the Grimes ad were correct. The only reason they rated her claim as “false” was because of the age of the specific person used in her ad. You see, “The average out-of-pocket costs a new senior would pay in 2022 if Medicare changed to a more privatized system. People who turned 65 prior to 2022, like the retiree in Grimes’ ad, would remain in the current Medicare system and would not incur those costs.”
So, not only is this rebuttal inaccurate because the new Grimes’ ad simply stated that he had voted to raise the costs of Medicare and he has, but McConnell did support the Ryan budget. He also voted to close the donut hole for Medicare Part D, and the Republican Party — 30 year incumbent McConnell is the Senate Minority Leader, not exactly a sideliner on issues — has been trying to semi-privatize Medicare for years.
McConnell can’t really argue that point except by vaguely trying to connecct it to a summer ad, so instead he attacked Grimes and her deceased grandfather. Alison for Kentucky spokeswoman Charly Norton responded, “In a new low even for him, it is repulsive that Mitch McConnell is attacking Alison’s deceased grandfather.”
Of course, Team Mitch’s attack is uglier than just attacking Grimes’ grandfather. It attacks Grimes for discussing a relevant family medical event and its relationship to policy. Why does it do this? Because Alison Lundergan Grimes has a strong point in her ad. She is correct and she is relatable. No one has accused Mitch McConnell of being relatable in a very long time.
Why won’t Mitch McConnell discuss solutions for medical crises for the average American family? Why does he keep attacking Grimes over “Obamacare” when in Kentucky, it’s Kynect and it’s very popular?
Alison’s ad was spot on and Team Mitch can’t handle the truth.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.