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Rogers (R) goes after Kennedy on Medicare, Social Security [RI-01]
Pawtucket Times ^ | 10/31/02 | Jim Baron

Posted on 10/31/2002 5:05:51 AM PST by BlackRazor

Rogers goes after Kennedy on Medicare, Social Security

Jim Baron

October 31, 2002

Topic Number 1 right now in Washington and most of the country is whether the United States is about to go to war with Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein and strip him of his ability to use weapons of mass destruction and perhaps obtain nuclear arms.

It is a subject that Republican 1st District congressional candidate David Rogers, a veteran of the Navy SEALs, warms up to easily.

"Saddam Hussein can not be allowed to have that capability, period," Rogers asserts.

"I think we are looking at the (former Soviet leader Joseph) Stalin of our generation," he continues. "I believe, and other people believe, that he could be quite completely insane.

"The difference between Saddam Hussein and Stalin is that Stalin didn't have the ability to push a button and kill 100,000 people. Hussein is trying to get that ability. That is why we can't be one day late in figuring out what to do."

What Rogers believes we have to do is send inspectors into Iraq immediately -- and if they find such weapons, "find them, secure them and take them out."

"We need to negotiate with the United Nations and with Saddam from a position of strength," if that is to be done without having to go to war, Rogers believes. That is why, he says, Congress was right to give President George W. Bush a free hand in dealing with Iraq -- militarily if necessary.

"Congress needed to be able to stand with the president and say, 'You have our authorization, you have our blessing, go forward and do what you need to do."

Rogers' opponent, Democratic incumbent Patrick Kennedy, recently cast a vote to give the president that authorization, a vote that raised eyebrows because Kennedy parted with many of his Democratic colleagues in doing so.

While hinting that he wonders whether Kennedy would have voted the way he did if Rogers and his military record weren't in the race, he stops short of criticizing the congressman for, in effect, agreeing with him and casting a vote Rogers thinks is the right one.

But that, seemingly, is where Rogers' reservations about criticizing Kennedy end.

He calls Kennedy's vote against the Republicans' plans to provide prescription drug coverage under Medicare -- which Rogers asserts was "the only viable prescription drug benefit plan to come to the House of Representatives" this year -- "amazingly irresponsible on his part."

While Rogers acknowledges that the two-tier GOP plan, which covers the cost of prescriptions up to $2,000 in a year, then stops until "catastrophic coverage" of above $3,700 kicks in, "is not perfect, it is a flawed piece of legislation," he says we have to start somewhere.

"We have nothing on the table," he said. "We are starting at zero."

He accuses Kennedy of coming up with a sham alternative, one with no hope of passing, as a cover for opposing the Republican plan, one that would be far too expensive for the country to afford.

"It's a typical political ploy," he explains. "When you know you are not going to vote for one (plan), you double the price, triple the price, then wave the thing and say, 'Look at what we were going to go with.'

"We get the same political rhetoric every two years," Rogers says. "Patrick Kennedy for eight years has talked about prescription drugs each election season and has done nothing." Kennedy's strategy, Rogers contends, is to "do nothing, complain and make accusations."

Social Security, Rogers asserts, "is another place where Congressman Kennedy has no plan. He is trying to scare seniors into believing the alternative I offer might be destructive."

Noting that when Social Security started, there were 40 wage earners paying in for each recipient, but now the ratio is three earners for each recipient, Rogers declares, "Social Security is about to fail. That is a fact.

There are four ways to deal with it, he says. One is raising taxes, "which no one wants to do, least of all me."

Another is cutting benefits, but he says benefits are already meager, so that is not an option. Another is to make cuts elsewhere in government, which may not be politically feasible.

The fourth way, which Rogers embraces "is to make Social Security itself more solvent."

He would do that by allowing, but not requiring, people to set up personal savings accounts that would allow recipients to invest some of that money in conservative plans that would grow between 5-8 percent annually -- far better than the 1.4 percent Social Security grew this year.

"That would go a long way toward ensuring the solvency of Social Security for many years to come," Rogers said. He said Kennedy tries to paint that as "Dave Rogers wants to take Social Security and invest it in Enron. It's effective because people don't know better."

Although polls show him behind, Rogers says he has a shot at winning next week's election.

Pointing to a recent Brown University poll that shows Kennedy leading the race by 44 to 27 percent, with independent Frank Carter receiving 2 percent of the vote, and 27 percent saying they are undecided, Rogers says, "I haven't seen numbers quite like these.

"Patrick's 44 percent has to be just about the lowest number for any sitting congressman anywhere in the United States, with a large number of undecided," Rogers said.

"It sort of begs the question: Who is undecided about Patrick Kennedy? We've had him for a congressman for eight years.

"The way we are interpreting that is that these voters are waiting to figure out whether or not they can see me as their representative," Rogers said. "Our likelihood of victory is essentially going to be based on how well and how effectively we get our message out to those people."

TOPICS: Rhode Island; Campaign News; Polls; U.S. Congress
KEYWORDS: congress; house; kennedy; rhodeisland; rogers

1 posted on 10/31/2002 5:05:51 AM PST by BlackRazor
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To: conservative_2001; Coop; rightwingbob; DeaconBenjamin; Vis Numar; mwl1; frmrda; Dog; Tribune7; ...
Poll Ping!

If you want on or off my poll ping list, let me know!

2 posted on 10/31/2002 5:06:31 AM PST by BlackRazor
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To: Torie; Free the USA; paul544; deport
3 posted on 10/31/2002 6:44:15 AM PST by KQQL
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

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