Andrew Gillum hits Ron DeSantis over votes on Medicare, social security in new ad

The Democrat tries to paint his Republican's votes as hostile to working Floridians.
Published Oct. 16, 2018|Updated Oct. 16, 2018

Andrew Gillum isn't campaigning as his city recovers from Hurricane Michael. But that didn't stop the Democrat's campaign from unveiling a new attack ad on Ron DeSantis Tuesday.

A new 30-second ad bashes DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor, for his votes in Congress to raise the eligibility ages for Medicare and social security to 70 years old.

"DeSantis voted five times to cut social security and Medicare benefits to give more tax breaks to billionaires," a voice narrates in a typically ominous tone.

The ad mostly cites votes DeSantis took on Republican budgets during the Obama administration. Those budgets did indeed look to reform Medicare and social security by changing government payment structures and gradually raising the programs' eligibility ages. (Entitlements comprise a significant, and growing, portion of government spending.) But the proposals DeSantis voted for never had any chance of becoming law with Obama, a Democrat, in the White House.

The claim that DeSantis voted for those entitlement cuts in order to finance tax breaks to "billionaires" comes from a vote he gave in 2014 on a similar Republican budget. A part of that proposed budget would have cut taxes across the board. Because high income earners pay the most taxes under America's progressive taxation system, billionaires likely would have disproportionately benefitted from the cuts — but most every taxpayer likely would have seen some relief.

A Gillum campaign press release announcing the release of the advertisement did not specify how much money is behind the ad, or in what markets it will run.

In response to the ad, DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson criticized Gillum for supporting Medicare for all.

"Gillum's government-controlled healthcare plan, Medicare for All, would take away the health insurance choices that most Floridians enjoy today and hurt seniors who have earned their benefits by paying into the system their entire lives," Lawson said. (A health policy expert quoted by PolitiFact last week said a similar claim made by President Donald Trump about Medicare for all taking health care away from seniors was a "horrible mischaracterization of the proposal.")

Not to be outdone, Republicans released ads of their own Tuesday. Three Spanish-language ads featuring Senator Marco Rubio and Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón made the case for DeSantis.

"There are special interests from the extreme left, that are not from our state, spending millions of dollars in the governor's campaign race," Rubio says in one, according to a translation provided by the Republican Party of Florida. "They are looking to force their agenda which goes against the interest of our families here." (DeSantis has also received plenty of out-of-state funding from conservative donors.)

Check out those ads here, here and here.

And watch the Gillum campaign ad here.

This post has been updated with comment from the DeSantis campaign.