Rick Weiland and Stace Nelson are clearly in cahoots. The Democratic candidate for Senate issued a press release yesterday saying GOP primary frontrunner Mike Rounds is lying about the Affordable Care Act. Shortly thereafter, Rounds's primary challenger Nelson issued a press release saying that Mike Rounds is lying about the Affordable Care Act.
Of course, Weiland and Nelson come at it from completely different angles. Weiland offers the blatantly obvious and widely reported facts that the ACA is not reducing any care that senior citizens receive under Medicare, contrary to the fear-mongering of Rounds's sleepless Grampa Don ad. It also points out that Rounds's Republican pals are the ones pointing the carving knives at Medicare. Weiland's assault on Rounds's fiction has a broader audience: it appeals to supporters and beneficiaries of the law while educating folks in the middle and even opponents about the cynical falsehoods Rounds is telling about the largely successful ACA.
Nelson digs deeper for a different crowd. In a message aimed strictly at the conservative base he needs to show up on June 3, Nelson paints Rounds as a facilitator of the Affordable Care Act. He puts Rounds in the room with President Barack Obama and Tom Daschle talking health care reform. Most importantly, Nelson follows up on a claim he made that Rounds worked with a task force whose specific purpose was to implement ObamaCare. Rounds responded that the task force claim was "flat-out incorrect." "Tom Daschle and I have never served on a joint committee to implement ObamaCare," Rounds said in Thursday night's debate.
Nelson rebutted just a few minutes later that viewer could fact-check Rounds's claim by pointing viewers to a February 11, 2011, Rapid City Journal which shows that, once again, Rounds is lying via semantics:
Rounds said Friday that he has joined a task force affiliated with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle has been a co-leader in health care reform work since 2008.
...Daschle said Friday that he welcomes Rounds to a bipartisan effort he considers crucial to health care reform.
"It is the only way this will ever work," Daschle said of. "Our primary purpose is to explore how states can move forward in providing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. I am delighted to be working with Gov. Rounds on this" [Kevin Woster, "Former Gov. Rounds Joins Health Insurance Task Force," Rapid City Journal, 2011.02.11].
I invite Mr. Rounds to square his flat-out denial in the debate with his and Mr. Daschle's statements to Mr. Woster in February 2011.
Below is Team Nelson's full press release, complete with hyperlinks to the supporting documents.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stace Nelson calls out Rounds for dishonesty on Obamacare
Fulton, SD—South Dakota State Representative and US Senate Candidate Stace Nelson called out fellow candidate Mike Rounds for being dishonest in claiming that he opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” The Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2010, is often considered the President's signature piece of legislation.
Nelson listed a number of reasons why he felt this way:
“Mike Rounds brought Obamacare to South Dakota.
He met with President Obama in June of 2009 regarding how to push Obama's health reform agenda. In the press conference that followed, the President remarked 'I want to thank [Governor Rounds] publicly. And I look forward to working with [him] to get [health care reform] done for the American people and for the people of [South Dakota] in the weeks to come.'
Rounds opposed the Health Care Freedom Act in the 2010 legislative session in Pierre and sent his own chief of staff, (Neil Fulton, Rounds' personal representative), to lobby against it when it came up for a committee hearing in Pierre.
His administration applied to the federal government and received millions of dollars in grants to implement Obamacare here in South Dakota.
Shortly after leaving office in early 2011, former Governor Rounds joined a task force with former Senator Tom Daschle, Obama's first choice to head the Health and Human Services Department, to find compromise solutions on how to implement Obamacare. Daschle expressed his pleasure in working with Rounds toward this goal.
Although he claims he sued the federal government, the Attorney General of South Dakota, a separate constitutional office, actually did that.”
As part of the effort to set the record straight, the Stace Nelson for US Senate campaign will be airing a 60-second radio ad statewide, as well as advertising through other media [Rep. Stace Nelson, press release, 2014.05.16].
Even if Rounds survives the primary, he won't escape this fire from the Right. Independent Senate candidate Gordon Howie will surely pick up right where Stace Nelson leaves off and run these same charges, casting doubt on Rounds's dedication to blocking and reversing the Affordable Care Act. Those Nelson-Howie charges will appeal to a much smaller segment of voters than Weiland's assault on Rounds's fear-mongering, but those charges do damage that Weiland never could.
As Larry might put it, Enterprise and Excelsior at Khitomer. Boom, boom, boom, Left and Right!