ORLANDO, FL — There’s a myriad of Republican events here this week, from a CPAC convention to a massive gathering of state GOP members to a nationally-televised presidential debate. And a group of progressives intent on preserving the 2010 health care law hopes to cast a pall over all of them with a reminder of an ugly moment from the last time the Republican candidates for president stopped off in the Sunshine State.
Protect Your Care, which has been keeping the fire burning on the “let him die” moment from the Sept. 12 tea party debate in Tampa, is turning the heat up to 11 with events and a new TV ad that will broadcast for the rest of the week in Orlando, including during Thursday’s Fox News debate.
The hard-hitting TV ad attacks the presidential contenders for their open courtship of the tea party, which Protect Your Care says is exemplified in the moment when the candidates “stood silent” while members of the audience cheered on the idea of letting an uninsured man die.
Both Rick Perry and Mitt Romney condemned the audience response after the debate, but Protect Your Care says that’s not the point. The group points to the House Republican budget plan to change Medicare into a voucher system — a plan which most of the GOP candidates have expressed an affinity for, at least in concept — as evidence that when it comes to health care, the candidates and the tea party march in lock-step.
“This is much broader than that single incident,” Protect Your Care said in a release. “The ‘let him die’ applause was just the latest illustration of the extreme lengths the Presidential candidates are going through in their attempts to pander to the far right Tea Party extremism on health care.”
In addition to the television ad, which runs here through Sunday, Protect Your Care is on the ground with protesters who intend to make noise about “let him die” when the candidates make appearances throughout the week. They’ll also hold a press conference with uninsured Floridians the afternoon before the debate to raise awareness.
Keep in mind this is Florida, where they take their federal entitlements (especially those aimed at retirees) very seriously. By coupling the Republican candidates to the tea party, progressives hope to drive a wedge between the eventual GOP nominee and the all-important senior vote.
Check out the ad, which is among the tougher of the cycle so far: