Democrat Klein’s latest anti-West ad calls GOP challenger ‘too extreme’by George Bennett | September 13th, 2010
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s third TV ad is also his third slam on Republican challenger Allen West, calling him “too extreme for South Florida.”
The ad features a clip of West at a tea party rally saying “I’m just honored to be here today with all of my fellow right-wing extremists.”
Asked if West’s remarks might be considered tongue-in-cheek, a Klein spokeswoman said “as always, Allen West’s own words speak for themselves.”
Klein’s ad also claims West favors “destroying” Social Security and believes Medicare “can be cut” — although the Klein campaign doesn’t cite direct quotes of West saying either.
For the ad’s Social Security claim, the Klein campaign relies on reporter Dave Weigel’s characterization of West’s position when Weigel appeared on National Public Radio in February.
Weigel, talking about the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, told NPR’s Terry Gross that West “said, yes, Social Security’s a Ponzi scheme, it’s the biggest Ponzi scheme, but I’m not going to get rid of it right away but I, you know, hint-hint, eventually this country’s got to get on sound footing by destroying it.”
Weigel resigned from The Washington Post in June after disparaging comments he made about conservatives on the private “Journolist” site were made public.
For the claim that West said “Medicare….can be cut,” the Klein campaign points to a June posting on West’s campaign Website that does not mention Medicare.
Discussing the federal budget, West said, “I will seek to make the federal government efficient and look where we can cut, not expand. Remember, if the Constitution does not mandate it, it is not within the prescribed duties of government.”
Medicare isn’t mentioned in the Constitution.
West campaign manager Josh Grodin offered this characterization of West’s views on Social Security and Medicare:
“Allen West believes that Social Security must be restored to the independent trust fund account it was originally intended to be in. Once the politicians moved it to the general operating account, they used it for their pork barrel spending sprees. The fact that we are creating a jobless morass in America means there are less workers paying into the system. This is another reason why we need private sector growth, which in turn creates jobs, which will replenish the Social Security fund.
“As far as Medicare, Klein voted for the government takeover of health care which will result in $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and will increase costs for both the consumer and the government.”