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On Medicare, Romney Campaign Looks for Lessons From Nevada

5:43 PM, Aug 14, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Mitt Romney's latest campaign advertisement knocks President Obama for "[cutting] Medicare to pay for Obamacare." The Romney campaign appears to be addressing the Medicare criticisms that come with adding Paul Ryan to the ticket head-on. It's a strategy that's worked for Republicans before, specifically in Nevada's Second Congressional District special election last year.

Mitt Romney

The Romney campaign is learning how the GOP won the Medicare battle in that race quickly and decisively. Advisers are paying close attention to this 10-minute videopicked up by Politico, narrated by National Republican Congressional Committee political director Mike Shields. 

In Nevada's Second, Democrats tried attacking Republican Mark Amodei for his vocal support for the Medicare reforms championed by Paul Ryan, saying Amodei wanted to "end Medicare as we know it." The attack could have been devastating since, as Shields notes, Republicans are already at a political disadvantage when it comes to Medicare--voters just assume the GOP wants to make cuts to the program. In response, the Amodei campaign hit back, telling voters that the Democratic candidate opposed repealing Obamacare and reminding them that law raided over $700 billion from Medicare to pay for a new health care entitlement program. Amodei also appeared in ads with his elderly mother, who provided "third-party" testimonials that her son would not vote to end Medicare. Amodei and the Republicans actually ended up winning on the Medicare issue, and Amodei went on to win the election.

The new Romney ad shows the campaign is employing the first tool Shields describes: reminding voters that Obamacare cuts $700 billion plus from Medicare (as Yuval Levin explains in detail here). Perhaps we can expect to see another ad soon with Paul Ryan and his Medicare-assisted mother, who lives in Florida.

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