Chuck Schumer, the Dem messaging chief, is pouncing on a testy exchange between GOP Rep. Rob Woodall and a constituent, in which Woodall suggested that would-be Medicare recipients who don’t get retiree benefits from private employers should be expected to fend for themselves.
As I noted this morning, Rep. Woodall made the case for ending Medicare as we know it in starkly ideological terms that seemed to veer off the standard GOP message. And in a statement sent my way, Schumer maintained that the episode reveals the GOP’s ideology for what it is: “You’re on your own.”
In the exchange, which was captured on video by Patch.com and elevated by HuffPo, a woman told Woodall:“The private corporation that I retired from does not give medical benefits to retirees.” His response:
“Hear yourself, ma’am. Hear yourself,” Woodall told the woman. “You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, ‘When do I decide I’m going to take care of me?’”
When another constituent expressed concern about the GOP Medicare plan at the same event, Woodall declared: “If you want a socialized health care program, there are lots of places to find that.” As Steve Benen notes, that came very close to suggesting that the woman should leave the United States to seek refuge in another industrialized country that offers everyone coverage.
The whole episode struck me as the sort of moment that Dems would seize on as a revelatory one, and sure enough, Schumer’s statement makes that case:
“No matter how hard you’ve worked your whole life, no matter how severe your medical hardship, the Republican motto is clear: you’re on your own. This lays bare the ideology behind their goal of ending of Medicare as we know it.”
It’s always hard to predict what sort of moment will become an iconic one. But the DNC just circulated the exchange to reporters moments ago, and I’m told more Dems may pounce on it, so at the very least, it could get some cable play.