Dems say video is proof Thompson would “gut” Medicare, Medicaid

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MADISON -- Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson is facing criticism over his plans for Medicare and Medicaid. A video has surfaced, showing Thompson talking to a Tea Party group saying he would "do away" with the programs. Democrats are calling this a "tipping point" in the race for Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seat.

The recently released video shows Thompson speaking to a Tea Party group last June.

"Who better than me who's already finished one of the entitlement programs (welfare) to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?" Thompson told the group in the video.

Democrats have seized on the phrase "do away with Medicaid and Medicare," saying Thompson intends to dismantle the popular programs.

"He believes he's the guy who should go to the U.S. Senate to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid," Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said.

In Green Bay, Thompson sought to explain his comments, saying he was taken out of context.

"It's always easy to take a word or two and splice it and slice it. What I was talking about was reforming Medicare," Thompson said.

In the video, Thompson goes on to speak about giving seniors subsidies for Medicare and making Medicaid the responsibility of the state, but Democrats say the video shows his true intentions.

"You have a guy who didn't know he was being filmed and maybe let his guard down a little, and sort of told us what he really thinks and told us what his real plans are," Tate said.

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson agrees Thompson was taken out of context.

"All those comments have got to be put into context. The fact of the matter is the extreme position on Medicare, Medicaid for that matter is to do nothing," Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin appeared on MSNBC to criticize Thompson's record as Health and Human Services Secretary under Bush Sr.

"He gave the drug companies a sweetheart deal with the Medicare Part D program. He made it illegal for Medicare to bargain with the drug companies in order to get better prices for seniors," Baldwin said.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a new ad Thursday, September 27th direct at seniors, saying Thompson would "gut" Medicare.

Meanwhile, Thompson's campaign rolled out a new endorsement -- the Physicians for Responsible Government.

Thompson and Baldwin square off in a televised debate in Milwaukee Friday night, September 28th. The debate will air at 7:00 p.m. on FOX6.2 (Time Warner channel 986 or Charter Cable channel 967). The debate will also STREAM LIVE via FOX6Now.com.