Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sean Duffy is using his own mother in a new campaign ad about Medicare. Democrats say it's because he's losing the argument on the issue. Duffy isn’t the first Republican to use the strategy.
The ad features Sean Duffy's mother Carol, who tells us she's a lifelong Democrat, "People might expect a mom to vote for her own son. But Sean really had to earn my vote. Don't believe the lies. Sean will do what's right for Medicare and seniors."
This isn't the first time a Republican has used his own mother to counter attacks on the Medicare issue. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan brought out his mother Betty on the day he was named as Mitt Romney's running mate, “My mom has been on Medicare for over ten years. She planned her retirement around this promise. That's a promise we have to keep."
Ryan created the plan that would turn Medicare into an optional voucher program for those under 55. UW-Stevens Point political scientist Ed Miller says Ryan and Duffy are using their mothers, because the plan isn't popular, “He voted for the voucher plan, and I think that's where he's sort of stuck. My mother, I would never harm her and Medicare. Well, he may not be harming her. That may be true. But people under 55 would be harmed."
Sean Duffy's Democratic opponent Pat Kreitlow agrees, "Everybody else knows the truth about Congressman Duffy's record on Medicare and the budget. If a politician has to trot out his mother to say that she'll vote for him, you know he's in trouble."
But Duffy says changes are needed to keep Medicare from going bankrupt. And he defends using his mother in the ad, "My mom is a senior. She relies on Medicare. And I'm not gonna do anything to hurt Medicare for seniors today."
Duffy accuses the Democrats of taking $716 billion from Medicare for Obamacare. The Democrats say that money was a savings, not a cut.