Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes released a new television ad Tuesday morning, her first criticizing U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In a throwback to the 2012 presidential campaign, Grimes, the Democratic nominee running against McConnell, takes her opponent to task over proposed changes to Medicare that were included in U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's 2011 budget proposal.
The ad, "Question from Don," features Grimes sitting next to retired coal miner Don Disney of Cloverlick.
"Senator, I'm a retired coal miner," Disney says in the ad. "I want to know how you could've voted to raise my Medicare costs by six thousand dollars. How are my wife and I supposed to afford that?"
The ad refers to a procedural vote that McConnell took in 2011 in favor of considering Ryan's budget bill, which the liberal-leaning Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimated would increase the out-of-pocket expenses for the average Medicare recipient from about $6,000 to $12,000 by 2022. Other groups have estimated that the bill would have produced a much smaller cost increase.
The bill, which failed in the Senate, would have exempted people who were already at or near retirement age from its changes.
The Grimes campaign said it was spending "six figures" to air the ad statewide. It is the first in a series that will feature Kentuckians asking critical questions of McConnell, the campaign said in a news release.
"Unlike Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes is running to protect and strengthen key programs for our seniors," the campaign said. "Alison believes in keeping our promises to our nation's seniors while preserving these programs for our children and grandchildren."
Republicans responded by saying that Grimes has voiced support for the federal health care law pushed by President Barack Obama, which cuts about $700 billion from Medicare over 10 years by tweaking payment formulas for health care providers.
"It says a lot about the candidacy of Alison Lundergan Grimes that she's a full four months away from the election and she already hit the panic button by resorting to the oldest, most cynical attack in the Obama playbook to scare Kentucky seniors," said Allison Moore, McConnell's spokeswoman. "The simple reality is that Sen. McConnell has fought to protect Medicare, while Alison Lundergan Grimes and her political benefactors have raided it by $700 billion to pay for Obamacare."
Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.