The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Liberal group uses Facebook to criticize Rubio

25

August

aufc_rubio_facebook_ad_8-25-11.jpgSen. Marco Rubio's suggestion during his Reagan speech that entitlement programs have "weakened us as a people," has drawn a Facebook retort from a liberal advocacy group.

Americans United for Change said it is paying for Facebook ads that will be seen by Floridians and people who "like" Rubio on the social networking site. Rubio's point was that entitlements -- while well meaning -- made people dependent on government rather than themselves and the people around them.

"Program after program was crafted without any thought as to how they will be funded in future years or the impact it would have on future Americans," he said. "They were done with the best of intentions, but because it weakened our people and didn't take account the simple math of not being able to spend more money than you have, it was destined to fail and brought us to the point at which we are at today." (PolitiFact Florida takes a deeper look at the issue here.)

 

Rubio's words are ideological fightin' words, but nothing new. Nor is the strident Democratic defense of Social Security and Medicare.

The episode shows that as Rubio's profile grows, so does the scrutiny.

But the Americans United for Change effort is misleading. Nowhere did Rubio call seniors lazy. Rubio has been clear that his calls for entitlement reform should not apply to current seniors; rather be phased in for younger Americans such as himself.

Group spokesman Jeremy Funk defended the characterization when asked by the Buzz.

"What does Rubio say 'weakened us' and suggested has made us lazy as a society? Social Security and Medicare. Who benefits from Social Security and Medicare? Mainly seniors. Therefore, Rubio was in effect calling seniors lazy for accepting Social Security and Medicare benefits."

Funk said the group would pay for three days worth of ads.

UPDATE Aug. 26: The Democratic Congresional Campaign Committee issued a statement asking if Florida Republican members of Congress agree with Rubio. The DCCC was seeking to draw attention to Reps. Steve Southerland, John Mica, Dan Webster, C.W. Bill Young, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney, Allen West, Sandy Adams and David Rivera.

[Last modified: Friday, August 26, 2011 4:53pm]

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