WASHINGTON – Democrats are revving up their campaign to portray Republicans as having voted to "end Medicare," aiming to channel public support for the program into a 2012 issue.


A new 80-second spot by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee features ominous music and scared-looking seniors in front of a dark backdrop. It compiles footage of Republicans promising last fall to protect Medicare, and cites their votes in favor of the GOP budget blueprint that passed the House two Fridays ago.

"They lied," the video declares.

The video reminds voters that Republicans campaigned last fall in part against the Medicare cuts (that didn't affect benefits) in the Affordable Care Act. "I'll never put our seniors' future at risk," said freshman Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO). "No cuts, no privatization, and no scaring our seniors."

The spot also zeros in on campaign-era remarks by freshman Reps. Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Renee Ellmers (R-NC). "Social Security and Medicare are a promise we made to our seniors, and I will keep that promise," Benishek said.

The Republican plan, drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would restructure the single-payer health insurance program into a sort of voucher system. Medicare would remain intact for ten years, but Americans who turn 65 after 2021 would not be allowed to enroll in program as it exists, and would instead be given subsidies to buy private insurance. The value of the vouchers is expected to erode over time as health care costs are poised to grow at a faster rate.

All but four House Republicans voted for the plan, which failed to get a single Democratic vote.

The DCCC wasn't fazed by a dust-up with the nonpartisan fact-checking website PolitiFact, which last week took on its prior ad claiming Republicans "voted to end Medicare," rating it untrue.

The National Republican Congressional Committee responded by arguing that the Ryan plan "saves" Medicare, and claimed that Democrats are the ones who cut Medicare in their health care law.

"The reality is that the Republican budget blueprint saves Medicare for future generations with no disruption for those in and near retirement," NRCC spokeswoman Joanna Burgos told Raw Story in an e-mail, "while the Democrats' plan cuts Medicare benefits and raises taxes on job creators and every person who receives a paycheck."

Watch the video, via the DCCC.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/q8FM-tvstas?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]

This article has been updated to include a late response from the NRCC.