Republicans launch ad counteroffensive saying Democratic leaders distort truth on budget |

Republicans launch ad counteroffensive saying Democratic leaders distort truth on budget

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republicans launched an ad campaign about President Bush’s tax cut and the budget Monday in an attempt to counter a steady drumbeat of criticism by Democratic leaders about the dwindling budget surplus.

”If Democrats stay on the attack … and finally resort to paid advertising to mislead the people of the United States, … we can’t allow that to go unanswered,” said Jim Gilmore, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The Democrats responded with the argument that their comments about the dwindling surplus are the truth and used Congress’ nonpartisan financial watchdog office as proof.

”We owe it to the American public to let them know truly what the Bush administration is doing to our economy,” Democratic national Chairman Terry McAuliffe said.

Gilmore, the Virginia governor, said Democratic leaders are ”tone-deaf” and hypocritical about the budget.

Republicans began airing 30-second television commercials Monday that said Bush ”is sending money back to taxpayers to get our economy growing again. He’s protecting every penny of Medicare and Social Security and still left the second biggest surplus in history.”

The ads targeted markets including Missouri, House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt’s home state; and South Dakota, home state of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Gilmore said the GOP campaign is a response to Democrats’ own ads last week that blamed Bush for the shrinking non-Social Security surplus and accused the GOP of raiding Medicare funds.

McAuliffe promised to keep up the pressure on Republicans and noted Monday’s budget estimates from the Congressional Budget Office said $9 billion in Social Security reserves will be used for this budget year, which ends Sept. 30. The White House forecast a non-Social Security surplus of $1 billion this year and next.

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