GOP urges Obama to 'protect senior citizens' in health care ad

The group

The Republican National Committee

The title

Seniors' Bill of Rights


"When you disagree with Washington, how come they act like it's your problem? That's what the Democrats have done with health care. They say you're the problem. How about a different way? A focus on things we can all agree on? I'm Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican Party. Join us in supporting a new Seniors' Bill of Rights. Let's agree in both parties that Congress should only consider health reform proposals that protect senior citizens. For starters, no cuts to Medicare to pay for another program. Zero. Make it illegal to ration health care based on age. Prevent any government role in end-of-life care. And stop bureaucrats from getting between seniors and their doctors. A few things we can all agree on. The Seniors' Bill of Rights. Oh and President Obama, it's not too late to change your mind. Stand with us and stand with senior citizens. After all they've earned it."

The images

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele walks into the camera's view across a blue screen. Big block letters spelling out "Health Care Debate" in the background initially, later replaced by a sepia-toned image with the headline "Seniors' Bill of Rights." During the ad, headlines appear under Steele as he talks, echoing key points. "Make it illegal to ration health care based on age," reads one. Another says: "Stop bureaucrats from getting between seniors and their doctors."

Reality check

The ad has prompted a strong pushback from Democrats. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., called it "lies" in a telephone conference Tuesday. The non-partisan says the Republicans' latest attack on the Obama health care plan is largely based on previously debunked claims, such as the charges about rationing care and a government role in end-of-life decisions. But FactCheck says the GOP has a point when it comes to the possibility of some seniors being pushed out of Medicare Advantage, a program that allows seniors to buy Medicare coverage through private insurers. Obama has criticized the program as "wasteful."

Where it's playing

The ad began running on national cable channels Tuesday, and is getting wider play in Florida, according to RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho. She said the RNC is targeting the northern Florida district of Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla. He's a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and has expressed concern about the cost of the Obama health plan.