The Democrats' Latest Line Of Attack: Hitting Republicans Over Entitlements

The DSCC's latest ad in Louisiana hits Rep. Bill Cassidy over raising the eligibility age for Medicare.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will release a new ad Wednesday going after Gop Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana over Medicare—the latest in national Democrats' efforts to attack Republican candidates in top Senate races over entitlements.

"Bill Cassidy needs to know that seniors are paying attention," one woman says in the ad, shared first with National Journal. The spot is part of the committee's $2.5 million fall buy in Louisiana, where Cassidy is looking to unseat Democrat Mary Landrieu.

"Seniors are troubled by Bill Cassidy's vote to raise the eligibility age for Medicare," a narrator continues, which one woman in the ad calls a "terrible idea." "There's more: Cassidy wants to replace Medicare with a voucher system, requiring seniors to buy private insurance with fewer benefits and higher costs."

"Seniors can't afford to pay more," another woman says at the end of the ad.

Despite the emergence of foreign policy and national security as a leading campaign issue in the final stretch before Election Day, national Democrats and Democratic campaigns have only ramped up their attacks on Social Security and Medicare in many top-tier races.

The DSCC has run entitlement-themed ads in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, and New Hampshire in recent weeks, as well as running a previous Social Security-centered ad in Louisiana earlier this month. Democrats are even using the issue this week in the Arkansas governor's race, even though federal benefits are outside the purview of any state official.

Entitlements have always been a potent issue for Democrats, particularly among older voters—a group that tends to vote in disproportionately high numbers in midterm elections. These issues, coupled with ads on women's issues and the GOP "war on women," have been Democrats' top attack lines against GOP Senate candidates.

The ads have put Republican candidates on the defensive on these issues, causing many of them to respond with ads of their own. Arkansas GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, for example, ran three separate ads explaining his position on entitlements. GOP state Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa, too, took heat for suggesting she would consider privatizing Social Security, then recently ran an ad where she affirmed her belief in "protecting Social Security for seniors."

Most recent polling puts the race between Landrieu and Cassidy—which will most likely go to a Dec. 6 runoff—within the margin of error.