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Democratic ad takes aim at Medicare

May 21, 2011 at 1:20 AM

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- A TV ad attacking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is intended to make sure Medicare is a major issue in 2012, a Democratic political operative says.

The commercial is airing in South Carolina in advance of a Romney trip to the state, The Boston Globe reported Friday. It was created by Priorities USA, a Democratic group.

In a conference call with reporters, Paul Begala, a longtime Democratic consultant and a founder of Priorities USA, said the ad is more about trying to make U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan a wedge issue, The Washington Post said. House Republicans voted overwhelmingly in favor of a budget proposed by Ryan, R-Wis., that included converting Medicare to a voucher system for future retirees.

"It is very rare that a dominant issue emerges in a presidential race, but it has," Begala said. "We believe Medicare will be a dominant issue."

Romney has not yet taken a position on the Ryan plan. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., called it "conservative social engineering," although he later backtracked a bit, while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said he would have voted for it, given the opportunity.

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