NHDP - ICYMI: Jeb! Bush Goes Head to Head with Granite State Voter over Medicare


CONCORD, N.H. - Yesterday, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush struggled to explain his way out of comments he made this week that he’d “phase out” Medicare to a New Hampshire voter who expressed her outrage.


At a town hall meeting in Gorham, a woman concerned about Medicare challenged Bush, asking him, “Why are you always attacking the seniors?” See NH1’s coverage of the exchange here.


New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley responded to Bush’s comments yesterday saying, “As of 2012, there were 231,000 granite staters that would rely on medicare for health coverage. New Hampshire can’t afford Jeb Bush’s ideas to phase out Medicare and neither can the rest of the country.”


“This is just the latest chapter in a long book of Republicans trying to destroy Medicare or turn it over to corporations. Nearly the entire Republican field supported Paul Ryan’s efforts to end Medicare as we know it,” added Buckley.


Lenore Patton of Hampton said, “Jeb Bush’s plan to phase out Medicare isn’t going to help the middle class, it’ll just put them farther and farther behind. Bush, once again, is looking out for himself and others like him - a way to put more in their pockets - instead of working to help people from falling into poverty. That is something we just can’t stand for.”


See below for a roundup of coverage.

Bush "questioned by a senior citizen" over his Medicare comments

NH1 // Paul Steinhauser

...At a town hall Thursday in northern New Hampshire, the Republican presidential candidate was questioned by a senior citizen over his comments at an event Wednesday night that was organized by Americans for Prosperity, when he said that “we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.”

The female questioner at the town hall in Gorham asked “I’ve paid into it for all these years, just like all these other seniors. Now you want to take it away.”

“No, no, no, no, no,” Bush responded.

“Yes, that’s what you said this morning,” responded the woman, talking about the coverage of Bush that she saw on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program...

“Why are you always attacking the seniors?” she asked...

Following his Wednesday night comments, Democrats quickly criticized Bush. And top Democratic party officials held a Thursday afternoon conference call to continue their attack.

“Once again, Jeb Bush has shown that he just doesn’t get it on the issues that matter to middle class families. Maybe Jeb Bush can afford to get by without Medicare. I’m sure the Koch brothers would be fine too. But millions of Americans are counting on Medicare when they retire for access to quality, affordable health care,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Party.

“This is just the latest chapter in a long book of Republicans trying to destroy Medicare or turn it over to corporations. Nearly the entire Republican field supported Paul Ryan’s efforts to end Medicare as we know it," add New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, a DNC vice-chairman…

Bush outlines his platform at Gorham town hall

Conway Daily Sun // Barbara Tetreault


...One woman questioned Bush sharply on Medicare, saying she heard he wants to phase out the health insurance program for Americans 65 and older. While assuring her he supports meeting the commitment to those now receiving Medicare, Bush said the government needs to look at entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security because they are not sustainable in the long run. In a quick retort, the woman challenged his characterization of Medicare as an entitlement program, noting she paid into the program her entire working career.


“Why are you always attacking the seniors?” she asked...



Jeb Bush defends Medicare comments


CNN // Cassie Spodak


...At a town hall Thursday, Jeb Bush refused to back down to criticism from Democrats, and one animated local voter, who charged him with "attacking the seniors" over his push for entitlement reform.

The woman told Bush she was very concerned about news reports alleging that Bush's policies would do away or change Medicare.

"My Medicare right now is wonderful and I paid into it for all these years. Why are you always attacking the seniors?" she asked Bush...

Democrats seized on the comments, saying they show Bush is out of touch with middle class families.

"I am sick and tired of Republicans who say that the only way to save Medicare is to destroy it. But my frustration is nothing compared to what it must be like for hardworking Americans who have their peace-of-mind and well-being threatened every time Republicans want to score a few political points," DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on a call with reporters Thursday.

Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party Ray Buckley said Republicans will face opposition in the first-in-the-nation primary state if they try to "destroy Medicare."

"[Bush] thinks phasing out Medicare will be a quote-unquote 'winning argument.' I'm happy to take that bet. Not here in the Granite State," Buckley also said on the call...