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Election Nears, Republicans Go Soft On Social Securit

With the Senate potentially within the Republicans’ grasp, some GOP candidates are flip-flopping on how they view Social Security, the Washington Examiner reports.

The ads, run by Crossroads GPS, have appeared in North Carolina, Arkansas, and California, and show Republican candidates aggressively defending Social Security and attacking Democratic opposition.

Georgia is a prominent example, in which the National Republican Campaign Committee viscerally attacked Democratic Rep. John Barrow for “leaving Georgia seniors behind.” Republicans at this hour in the game are gunning for electoral support from the more senior demographic. Seniors reliably turn out at a higher rate to the polls in non-presidential elections than other groups.

According to the polls, both parties appear to support Social Security, but how the Republicans will manage entitlements in light of priorities of fiscal responsibility remains to be seen if they take a majority in one or both chambers. Allegations of hypocrisy have been flying since the incident in Georgia, as Democratic opposition to Social Security, according to Democrats, is part of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson plan. In other words, Republicans are supposed to agree to raise taxes, and Democrats will in turn agree to reduce spending, to bring down the $17.9 trillion dollar national debt.

A former Republican senator from New Hampshire struck back against the few Republicans trying to trap opponents in an awkward position.

“It really is inappropriate for Republicans to attack people who stand up for entitlement reforms, especially hard reforms to Social Security and Medicare along the lines of what Simpson-Bowles proposes,” Judd Gregg told The Washington Post.

However, some Republicans point out that the whole issue is completely overblown in the first place—nothing more than an election ploy. The campaign against the Bowles-Simpson plan isn’t gaining any ground and is relegated to a few states, where Democrats, too, have broken the bargain. In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu has criticized her opponent for wanting to raise the retirement age.

“Entitlement reform has always been the most difficult piece of the debt-reduction equation,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, noting how politically fraught and heated the issue is around election time.

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