Non-Denial Denial

YNN has dueling statements from Brooks and Slaughter on the rape comments Here’s Slaughter:

Maggie Brooks has been deliberately hiding her anti-choice views from the public during this campaign, and has repeatedly aligned herself with some of the most conservative voices in Washington who have tried to strip women of their health care rights and redefine rape to satisfy their radical ideologies. The only thing we really know about Maggie Brooks is that she’s willing to take money from any right-wing group that will try to buy her a seat in Congress.

This is Brooks:

Louise Slaughter should be ashamed of this outrageous and dishonest attack on Maggie Brooks’ character. It’s sad to see Louise bring her hyper-partisan brand of Washington politics to our community. The voters of Monroe County know and trust Maggie and her record of protecting taxpayers, and won’t be fooled by Louise’s dirty tricks.

That statement says nothing about Brooks’ position on “forcible rape” or the rape exemption for abortion in general, so we’re left to assume that Brooks doesn’t want to talk about it. When a campaign resorts to “I’m rubber, you’re glue”, it’s because they don’t want to address the underlying issue, and that’s clearly what’s going on here.

Here’s a Question for Maggie

Maggie was indeed very quick to condemn Akin’s statement, but what about Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans in the House who co-sponsored a bill containing language referring to “forcible” rape, language that was removed only after an intense media firestorm. Does Maggie, like Paul Ryan, think that Congress should draw a distinction between forcible rape and other kinds of rape when it comes to abortion? Or does she condemn that?

By the way, this is apparently the “lie” that Brooks is referring to, from a Slaughter fundraising letter:

My “pro-life” opponent has continued to take tens of thousands of dollars and endorsements from those attacking women’s health, including Paul Ryan who has been working with Rep. Akin to redefine rape this entire Congress.

Ryan co-sponsored the bill with the original language. Maggie “applauded” the choice of Congressman Ryan. Maggie got money from at least three of the co-sponsors of the forcible rape bill (Roskum, Grimm and Sam Johnson on the last fundraising report). Where’s the lie here?

Maggie Fears the Reaper

Maggie Brooks seems a little shaken by the nomination of the Grim Reaper of Medicare, Paul Ryan, to the Republican ticket, since she’s repeating the same lie that Mitt Romney used when he introduced Ryan this weekend. The $700 billion figure is a mainly a cut to the wasteful Medicare Advantage program, which is a failed experiment in using private insurers to provide Medicare coverage. Medicare Advantage is less efficient, so seniors on that program will be moved to regular Medicare–nobody’s losing anything. Alan Bedenko fully destroys the myth of the $700 billion cut today if you want all the details, so instead of focusing on that, let’s move on to what Brooks is trying to hide, courtesy of the Associated Press:

ROMNEY: “Unlike the current president, who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security and keep them there for future generations.”

THE FACTS: You could fill an arena with all the details left out in this statement. Ryan’s reputation as a fiscal conservative is built on a budget plan that would overhaul the Medicare program and introduce a voucher-like plan that future retirees could use to buy private health insurance. Whether that results in a better or worse situation for Medicare recipients is a matter of debate. But under Ryan’s plan, traditional Medicare would no longer be the health insurance mainstay, just one of many competing options.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the Ryan plan — which Romney endorsed in broad strokes in the past — would slow the increases in money for seniors. A typical 66-year-old would receive about 35 percent more than last year — $7,400 in 2011 dollars. Under current law, that person would probably receive at least 56 percent more in 2030, and quite possibly 75 percent more — $9,600 in 2011 dollars. The CBO said his plan grows spending for Medicare enrollees “at a much slower rate” than under current law or other policy scenarios. In Washington, a slower increase in spending is tantamount to a spending cut.

Romney’s assertion that the team would preserve Social Security left out the fact that he proposes significant change. He would protect the status quo for people 55 and over but, for the next generations of retirees, raise the retirement age for full benefits by one or two years and reduce inflation increases in benefits for wealthier recipients. At least with this program, he has offered more specifics than President Barack Obama has in dealing with the entitlement’s long-term financing shortfall, though neither has laid out a comprehensive solution.

As for his accusation that the president cut Medicare, Obama’s health care law does cut billions from the Medicare Advantage program, hospitals and nursing homes, to pay for expanded insurance coverage.

Maggie Brooks doesn’t want to run on Medicare vouchers, and who can blame her? I don’t know anyone who’s 80 years old who thinks they can buy as good a policy as Medicare for $7,400 today, much less for a few thousand dollars more 18 long years from now. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Ryan plan is the death of Medicare, and Maggie’s right to fear the reaper, because voters won’t be happy once they learn more about the number two guy at the top of her party’s ticket.

Big Cash from Slaughter

The Slaughter campaign’s latest press release claims that her second quarter filing will show that she’s raised more than $530K.  Based on the last filing, which covered the period through the beginning of June, this means that Slaughter raised over $250K in one month, which puts her on track to have raised over $1 million this cycle.  I’ve included the full press release after the break: Continue reading

Run Away and Hide

Lucy at Mustard Street found Kathy Hochul ducking the Democratic Convention, which is probably a smart move since her race in the Republican (R+7) NY-27 (formerly NY-26) is rated as a toss-up by Charlie Cook. But now that we have a contested race in Democratic (D+3) NY-25, the question is whether Maggie Brooks will follow Hochul’s lead and run away from her party.

We had a bit of a hint earlier this week when Maggie showed some sympathy for Obama’s immigration plan, but the real test will be the Ryan Plan. In her D&C interview, Maggie said she supports the Simpson-Bowles budget plan, without the tax hikes, which means she doesn’t support the Simpson-Bowles budget plan. (By the way, as those of us with a memory will recall, Simpson-Bowles was never adopted by the Simpson-Bowles committee so it was even more of a nothing than the nothing that committee reports usually are in DC.)

Republicans in tight races are throwing the Ryan Plan under the bus in West Virginia and Montana.  Here’s the language Rep. David McKinley (R-WV-1) used in one of his mailers:

“Congressman McKinley recently voted against the 2012 budget passed by the House because of the plan’s negative impact on northern West Virginia seniors,” the mailers read. “The plan would privatize Medicare for future retirees, raise the retirement age and keep in place the Medicare cuts included in last year’s healthcare bill. The Congressional Budget Office determined the plan would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees.”

Maggie’s brand-new issue page mentions that she’ll vote to repeal Obamacare to “restore Medicare”, which is an odd statement to make since Medicare hasn’t been diminished by Obamacare (a fact which has been fact-checked to death yet Republicans still claim it.) The real threat to Medicare in this election, as Maggie’s Republican brethren in West Virginia and Montana correctly identify, is a Republican House that will vote for the Ryan plan.

Maggie at the D&C

Maggie Brooks went to the D&C Editorial Board yesterday, and because this is still 1955 and everyone waits for the paper newspaper to hit their steps before they’re sure it’s news, Jim Lawrence will write it up on Sunday. Until then, here’s the D&C’s liveblog transcript.

Editorial board member Larry Frye thinks he caught Maggie saying something out-of-sync with her party’s position on immigration, quoting her as saying “We can agree in principle with the president’s position”, referring to the Obama Administration’s recent decision to stop deporting illegal immigrants who arrived in the US as children.

Brian Sharp at the D&C has a follow-up story where the Slaughter campaign addresses Brooks’ criticism that she’s a Washington insider who’s never in the district by trotting out Maggie’s scandals. As a sidelight, Gerald Gamm gets to be as wrong as he was the last time he was quoted in the D&C:

Both are well known in the district and have “enormous reservoirs of goodwill,” said Gerald Gamm, chairman of the University of Rochester political science department. “Most voters like both of them. I think it’s really a risky strategy for either one of them to start attacking the other one.”

Brooks is running against an Democratic incumbent in a Democratic district. Presumably these Democrats are in general agreement on the issues with their fellow Democrat, Louise Slaughter. How the hell is Brooks going to win if she doesn’t convince voters there’s something wrong with Louise Slaughter?

Finally, as kind of an amusing sidelight to this little event, Maggie Brooks finally put some national issues on her website on the day of the meeting according to my monitoring software. I’ll have more on that in later posts.

Slaughter Out-Raises Brooks

Both the Brooks and Slaughter campaigns filed spending reports covering April, May and a few days in June, and Louise Slaughter out-raised Maggie Brooks by about $56K. Slaughter has close to $700K in the bank, with Brooks reporting about $370K.

Looking at the details, we see that Slaughter received about 54% of her donations from Political Action Committees (PACs) and 46% from individual donors. Small donors (giving under $200) were 37% of the total individual haul. For the whole cycle, Slaughter has received 36% of her donations from individuals, and the rest from PACs.

Brooks received all her donations from individual donors this reporting period, and almost all of that (96%) from donors giving more than $200. This means that Brooks will have more donors reaching their $5,000 limit than Slaughter, and will need to find new sources of funds as we approach the general election. Brooks has gotten 89% of her donations from individuals over the whole cycle.

This is a real “meh” fundraising report for Brooks, who was a fundraising dynamo during her County Executive runs. She’s tapped out a lot of major big-name donors (the Wegmans figure prominently in this report) but unless she has a bunch more of those in her pocket, she’ll need to work the phones harder to raise enough money to be competitive in this race.