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    Rhode Island Dem Launches “Let’s Scare Grandma” Tour

    Rhode Island Dem Launches “Let’s Scare Grandma” Tour

    That’s not the literal name of the tour, but it is a fair characterization of the “Fighting for Social Security” tour of senior citizen centers launched last week by Democratic congressional candidate David Cicilline.

    Cicilline, the current Mayor of Providence, is running in the 1st District of Rhode Island, for the open seat currently held by Patrick Kennedy, who is not running again.  The Republican candidate is John Loughlin.  The Cook Report recently moved the race from Likely-D to Lean-D.

    As part of the Tour, Cicilline will visit senior citizen centers around the state to warn the elderly that Republicans are a threat to their checks. 

    Ciciilline kicked off at a senior center in Pawtucket, RI, where Cicilline and two state Democratic candidates offered free pizza to lure seniors to attend.  As reported by a local Rhode Island political website (see also video below and image above):

    Democratic Congressional candidate David Cicilline yesterday vowed to fight with “every fiber of his body” any efforts to privatize Social Security, which he warned his Republican opponent, John Loughlin, would do if elected to Congress.

    Cicilline also said he would help seniors get transportation to everything from doctor visits to senior centers. He also said he would get more federal funding for prescription drugs, saying seniors shouldn’t have to choose between their medicine and buying groceries. “In the richest, most powerful nation in the world, no senior … should face that choice,” Cicilline said. He spoke at the St. Germain Manor Senior Center in Pawtucket, kicking off what his campaign called the “Fighting for Social Security” tour.

    The Providence Journal quoted part of Cicilline’s speech in which Cicilline falsely told seniors their checks would be at risk if Republicans were elected (emphasis mine):

    “There are people all across this country, Republicans, that are [saying] what we have to do is privatize Social Security,” Cicilline told about 50 seniors who had gathered for a candidate-sponsored pizza dinner. “Now, if we privatize Social Security, and you take what happened in the stock market over the last several years, that will put so many of our seniors and people who rely on Social Security at a terrible, terrible risk.”

    Cicilline’s presentation to seniors was false in numerous respects. There is no threat to the checks to be received by seniors now in the system either under the present system or with any reforms now in the early stages of discussion. None, yet Cicilline cynically suggests to the elderly that their checks are in jeopardy.

    Cicilline’s fear mongering about “privatization” also was misleading because the types of changes proposed by people like Paul Ryan would not affect anyone currently receiving social security, or even people a decade or more away, and would not require people to invest in the stock market.

    Yet Cicilline raises the bogeyman of privatization to scare the elderly at senior centers.

    There is a method to Cicilline’s political madness.  Rhode Island has one of the highest percentages of seniors in the nation, so scaring the elderly makes good politics.

    What type of politician lures the elderly to meetings with offers of free pizza only to scare them half to death with false claims that their social security checks are in danger?

    Well, let’s just say Cicilline is not one of those Democrats running away from Obama.


    Update:  Thanks to a reader for alerting me that similar talking points about privatizing social security were deemed an outright falsehood by PolitiFact.  It appears that Cicilline is using DCCC campaign strategy. The Providence Journal uses PolitiFact, will it run a Pants on Fire evaluation for Cicilline?

    I have e-mailed The Providence Journal requesting that they submit Cicilline’s claims to PolitiFact, or at least report that identical claims have been found to be false.  I’ll let you know what I hear back.
    Related Posts:
    The Patrick Kennedy Seat – “Are You Kidding Me?”
    The Patrick Kennedy Seat Is In Play Again

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    @alan markus – yup, it was at St. Germaine senior center, which I assume is part of the housing complex. Nice work.

    Don't want to bog you down (but I do think this is something "big"), but someone could wonder if that senior citizen center was constructed with Community Developement Block Grants (CDBG) and if this policy was complied with:

    24 CFR 570.207 – Ineligible activities.
    Code of Federal Regulations – Title 24: Housing and Urban Development

    "3) Political activities. CDBG funds shall not be used to finance the use of facilities or equipment for political purposes or to engage in other partisan political activities, such as candidate forums, voter transportation, or voter registration. However, a facility originally assisted with CDBG funds may be used on an incidental basis to hold political meetings, candidate forums, or voter registration campaigns, provided that all parties and organizations have access to the facility on an equal basis, and are assessed equal rent or use charges, if any."

    Sometimes HUD regulations cross-cut other programs – i.e Public Housing. Don't have the time to figure that out right now. Just wondering how compliant the Housing Authority was in regards to Code of Federal Regulations.

    Why don't Grandma & Grandpa hit back & scare the Dems? It wouldn't be hard. They could dress like Republicans, Christians & Jews and yell "Boo!" The Dems would be hightailin' out of those senior centers with their tails between their legs in no time flat.

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