Murphy, McMahon continue sparring on Social Security, Medicare, as Sunday morning debate gets closer

MERIDEN – Sensing an opening in his political street fight with Republican Linda McMahon, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy on Wednesday continued to punch away on earlier remarks she made to conservative Tea Party members on ending Social Security.

During a campaign stop at the Meriden Center, a Genesis HealthCare nursing home and short-term rehab center, Murphy told about 100 patients and staff members that he’ll help “fix” the programs over the long term without threatening benefits.

“You deserve to have a plan you can count on,” said Murphy, in a tough campaign with McMahon for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman. Later, he told reporters that McMahon “doubled down” on the a recently found statement to Tea Party member favoring elimination of Social Security, despite attempts by her campaign staff to “walk her back” from them..

“She supports ending the program in 10 years if changes aren’t made,” Murphy said. “In a short amount of time, we’re trying to let people know what Linda McMahon’s true feelings are about Social Security. Linda McMahon consistently says that she will consider the privatization of Medicare and on more than one occasion has said that she would support sun setting Social Security.”

Corry Bliss, McMahon’s spokesman, said Wednesday that Murphy’s support of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act itself cut Medicare.

“Every time you think Congressman Murphy’s campaign can’t possibly be any more pathetic, he sinks to an even lower low,” Bliss said. “Simply put, Congressman Murphy is desperately trying to cover up his own disastrous record on entitlements, which includes gutting Medicare funding by $716 billion and calling for middle-class tax hikes to pay for Social Security shortfalls. There’s only one candidate in this race who has a record of cutting entitlements to seniors, and that’s Chris Murphy.”, a service of the Tampa Bay Times, reports that charges from Rep. Paul Ryan and other Republicans on the effects of the $716 billion cut are “mostly false.”

Although the anticipated savings over 10 years under the ACA is $716 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, they are targeted at hospitals and insurance companies, not patients and their families, reports.

Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, was scheduled to appear with Murphy, but he failed to make the event and Murphy’s staff said it was due to a prior commitment. So U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal was a late fill-in, warning Courtney Young, administrator of the facility, other staffers and a most elderly group that “Social Security is under siege.” He asked them to vote for Murphy, who he said would be a good partner for him in the Senate.