Glenn Kessler posted a critique of our new ad on the Washington Post website today, saying that "it turns out this stuff adds up to peanuts in the context of a $3.7 trillion federal budget." Yes - AARP is not really suggesting that cutting pickle technology would solve the country's budget woes. The point was to get people talking - and use a little humor to do it. There are billions of dollars in cuts that should be considered before Congress considers cutting people's hard-earned Medicare and Social Security benefits.
AARP's Senior Vice President for Campaigns John Hishta gave the following statement in response (after the jump):
"Now is a critical time in the debate over what particular cuts Congress is willing to make in order to gain support for raising the debt ceiling, and AARP has always maintained that changes to Medicare and Social Security benefits have no place in this debate. Our new television ad was designed to bring attention to the critical discussions that are taking place today inside the beltway on proposals that may include harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The ad never made the claim that the deficit could be closed by eliminating the four examples of wasteful spending mentioned in the ad - but the ad has resulted in many people talking about what should be considered before cutting critical lifelines, which was the desired reaction.
AARP is well aware of the challenges that are facing our nation, and no one has or will continue to work harder to educate and engage the public in these important discussions than AARP. Whether or not Mr. Kessler believes that changes could be made to critical benefits for deficit reduction is a perfect example of why AARP will continue our campaign to educate the public on what is at stake in this debate.
AARP will continue to fight with the strength of our millions of members to prevent harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security from being included in any deal to pay the nation's bills. Congress needs to reduce our nation's debt by cutting wasteful spending, closing tax loopholes and working to rein in costs throughout the health care system."
Haven't seen the ad yet? Watch here, and then tell us what you think in the comments!