Yeehaw! Berkley Reno radio ad mocks Heller Medicare votes in country-western style


As campaign jingles go, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley's new radio ad is more Nashville than Nevada, mocking U.S. Sen. Dean Heller in country-western style.

The one-minute ditty takes Heller to task for voting two times for a Republican budget plan that would "kill my Medicare," according to the guitar-strummed song.

"It was a radical plan to end Medicare," the song in the ad goes, referring to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to transform Medicare into a voucher program for future retirees under the age of 55.

"Dean Heller voted for it. We should've stopped him there," says the tune, sung by a male artist.

"But Heller was appointed to fill a Senate seat and proudly voted once again for Medicare's defeat," the man sings. "Once is not enough to show how much you care. You went and voted two times to kill my Medicare. Oh, Dean Heller, that wasn't very nice. I wish they'd let me vote against you twice."

Heller voted for the Ryan plan in the House. And then he voted for it a second time in the Senate after he was appointed in May of last year to replace U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who resigned.

At the time, Heller said ahead of the second vote, 'I'm proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote twice for it."

Republicans argue Medicare will go broke unless the program is reformed for younger workers, who could buy private insurance with Medicare vouchers to save money overall. Berkley and her fellow Democrats have vowed not to change the program and instead focus on cutting out fraud and waste and on findings savings elsewhere.

The singer in the Berkley ad laments, in a mournful fashion, what has come to pass. "Oh, Dean Heller, you'll make seniors pay the price," he sings. "I wish they're let me vote against him twice."

Berkley's campaign said the Reno radio ad buy was "substantial," but did not release a dollar figure.

The radio ad comes after Berkley launched three new TV ads that deal with Medicare and with a House ethics investigation she's under. Her strategy is to shift the focus from her ethics troubles to Heller's votes on Medicare, hoping seniors and others will side with her. Two of the TV ads show kidney transplant patients praising Berkley for working to save the center at University Medical Center from closing. And they discount any notion she broke any ethical rules, although she failed to disclosure that her doctor husband had a financial stake in the kidney center. She's also under investigation for promoting legislation to help kidney doctors like her husband, who may have benefited financially.

Berkley has said her only concern was Nevada patients. The Heller campaign is running a TV ad highlighting the ethics investigation and accusing her of lining her own pockets.