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Obama Campaign Targets Paul Ryan, Joining Medicare Ad War

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Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, subject of a new ad by President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, subject of a new ad by President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

President Barack Obama's reelection campaign is joining the Medicare ad wars, with a major new television advertisement airing in eight battleground states.

Titled "Facts," the spot responds to an argument made by the Mitt Romney campaign (included in an ad of its own) that the president's health care law raids or robs Medicare of more than $700 billion. It uses AARP, the senior citizens lobby, as an independent validator for claims that the president's reforms actually strengthen the program, while the proposals by the GOP ticket would undermine it.

"Mitt Romney continues to mislead the American people about President Obama’s record on Medicare -– and skip the truth about his own plan to eliminate the guarantee of Medicare and provide people with a voucher to buy health care instead," said a statement from Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher announcing the ad.

Beyond the first line, the spot makes no mention of Mitt Romney, by name. Instead, it makes several references to vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his first round of proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher-like system, in which senior citizens would be given a check to buy private insurance. That's not just because the president's campaign wants to blanket Romney's candidacy in Ryan's budget. It's because the public, in all likelihood, was already introduced to the Ryan budget when it was the subject of intense town hall debates in the summer of 2011.

"Facts," according to Fetcher, will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

UPDATE: 8:50 a.m. -- Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, emailed over the following reply.

President Obama's new ad 'Facts' gets the facts wrong. The facts concerning the President's record on Medicare are clear: 1) Obama cut the program by $716 billion, 2) millions will be forced to lose their Medicare Advantage coverage and 3) the program will go bankrupt in 2024. Mitt Romney has a plan for Medicare that protects it for today’s seniors and strengthens it for future generations.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the "Facts" ad never mentions Mitt Romney by name. The ad mentions Romney in its first line.

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