With all the talk about whether the focus on VP pick Paul Ryan's budget -- and its proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security -- will affect congressional races this fall, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it is starting robocalls in GOP U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy's district today south of Pittsburgh. The DCCC is pushing Democratic Washington County commissioner Larry Maggi in the PA18 race.

UPDATE: The D-Trip is running similar calls in PA12 about Republican challenger Keith Rothfus.

Text of the Murphy call below:

Hi. This is Julie calling from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to alert you to a new development about Medicare.

Your Congressman, Tim Murphy, voted for a budget that would end Medicare and now the budget's architect, Paul Ryan, is the Republican candidate for Vice President.

A nonpartisan analysis showed that Ryan's budget would raise health care costs for seniors by $6,400. The Tax Policy Center also said the Ryan budget would give people making over $1 million a year an average tax break of $265,000. And Congressman Murphy supported all of it.

That's just wrong.

Call Congressman Tim Murphy at 412-344-5583 and tell him to stop protecting millionaires at the expense of Medicare and the middle class.

Rothfus call here:

Hi. This is Julie calling from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to alert you to a new development about Medicare.

Republican candidate for Congress Keith Rothfus is backed by Washington Republicans whose budget would end Medicare and now the budget’s architect, Paul Ryan, is the Republican candidate for Vice President.

A nonpartisan analysis showed that Ryan’s budget would raise health care costs for seniors by $6,400. The Tax Policy Center also said the Ryan budget would give people making over $1 million a year an average tax break of $265,000.

That’s just wrong.

Call Keith Rothfus at 724-602-0277 and tell him to not protect millionaires at the expense of Medicare and the middle class.        

George RR Martin

Here's what's happening in the world of Pennsylvania voter ID today as we await the Commonwealth Court decision:

First off, George R.R. Martin (above), the author of the Game Of Thrones books, is ripping mad about the laws in Pa and elsewhere. From a blog post on his site found by HuffPost:

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

About half of the voter ID bills introduced nationwide were tied to the conservative group ALEC, according to the latest report from journalism students at News21:

A News21 analysis found that more than half of the 62 bills were sponsored by members or conference attendees of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington-based, tax-exempt organization.

Pennsylvania’s law, which is counted among that group, was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, an ALEC member. The law has been challenged in court and a decision is expected this week. Signed into law on March 14, the law requires an acceptable photo ID.

Metcalfe, from Butler County, said he had been a member of ALEC for more than a decade and had found it helpful for public and private sectors to share public-policy ideas.

He said that his interest in voter ID had always been “outside of ALEC” and that his bill was modeled after an Indiana law but with some tweaks based on testimony at hearings and input from Pennsylvania residents.

“We knew the Indiana law was upheld by the Supreme Court,” he said. “I’m not sure how much ALEC influenced Indiana law.”

PennDOT offices are still playing catchup when it comes to producing IDs for voters. In Luzerne County, PennDOT workers aren't being clear to voters that the IDs are supposed to be free, according to the Times-Leader.

The WSJ reviews competing books on the matter by their editorial board member John Fund (pro voter ID) and law professor Richard Hasen.

PBS' "Frontline" has a voter ID cheat sheet on what's going on nationwide. Pa's AFL-CIO put out a new study on the impacts of the new rules on the state's seniors.

Republican supporters of the bill are increasingly saying that critics should spend less time complaining about voter ID and more time educating voters on its requirments. That was the point of Pa's GOP chairman Rob Gleason in a letter to the Post-Gazette today and Gov. Tom Corbett on a radio show yesterday. From WITF:

Gov. Corbett is chiding the parties suing the state, implying they’re wasting time trying to block the law he said is being implemented to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect registered voters. “What we heard in the testimony in the courtroom were the people saying, ‘well we can’t – they can’t get their photo ID,’ and they were there in the courtroom, rather than, ‘We can help you get a photo ID,’” said Corbett on the Radio Pennsylvania show, “Ask the Governor.”

gopcoalhit

With Mitt Romney across the border at an Appalachian coal mine in Ohio, we're hearing a lot today about energy and employment. The Republican side says Obama's regulatory policies are hurting coal production and jobs, while Democrats say the president's policies protect workers from harm and build jobs through greener energy sources.

The issues are pretty well distilled in nearby West Virginia (Beallsville, Ohio, is 35 miles outside Wheeling) where the United Mine Workers are not endorsing a Democratic presidential nominee for the first time in memory . . .  but aren't lining up behind Mitt Romney's white hat either, due to worries about his labor record.

Above is today's messaging on coal from the RNC, and below a mailer from AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka to about 100,000 labor households in Ohio and Pa coal regions.

trumkamailer

The pro-Romney SuperPAC Restore Our Future is going up in Pa and other swing states tomorrow with an ad hitting the incumbent on the economy and campaign tactics. It's also playing in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin according to Politico.

We haven't seen any buys yet in Pittsburgh, but have in Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

It's the first Pa buy by Restore Our Future since the week of June 25-July 1, according to the WashPost ad tracker.

Ad transcript:

Another month. Even more Americans jobless. If you had President Obama's record, what would you do? Would you Joke? [President Obama: "Shovel ready was not as...shovel ready as we expected"]. Deny reality? [President Obama: "We tried our plan and it worked"]. Even insist? [President Obama: "The private sector is doing fine"]. Or do what Obama's allies are doing now. Launch "Shameful" "Dishonest" attacks. With no record to run on, it's the only strategy Obama has left.

Romney, Ryan

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Mitt Romney is due to start his public day tomorrow at a coal mine in Beallsville, Ohio -- about 35 miles southwest of of Wheeling -- as part of a 3-stop Appalachian tour.

Paul Ryan is back home in Wisconsin but here's a roundup of Pennsylvania reaction from the P-G's Len Barcousky, who talks to Tim Murphy, Melissa Hart and others about the conservative Republican's VP credentials.

Statements from others below.

US Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown:

“Congressman Paul Ryan is the architect of a budget that would have disastrous consequences for Pennsylvania’s seniors which is strongly supported by Keith Rothfus. The Rothfus/Ryan budget will end Medicare by turning it into a voucher program that will cost seniors $6,400 more per year for their health care – all so millionaires can get more tax cuts.

The difference in this race is that I will fight to protect and strengthen Medicare while Keith Rothfus and Paul Ryan want to end it all so the wealthy can get richer.”

PA GOP chair Rob Gleason:

“I congratulate Paul Ryan on being selected to join Mitt Romney on the Republican Presidential ticket. Pennsylvanians will be well served by a Romney-Ryan team in White House that can finally shut the door on President Obama’s four years of high unemployment, out-of-control spending, and usher a new era of American prosperity. Pennsylvania will be first in line to send Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the White House when we deliver our 20 electoral votes this November.

“Quite simply, President Obama has failed. The unemployment rate has now been above 8 percent for 42 straight months. Friday’s jobs report illustrates how Obama has failed to fix the economy and meet his own standards: He promised his massive $831 billion stimulus would create millions of jobs and bring unemployment down to around 5.5 percent by today. Most staggering of all, the real unemployment rate is 15 percent!  That means that 15 percent of Americans either can’t find a job, full-time work or have given up even trying to find a job.  That is this President’s legacy and the reason Pennsylvanians are going to vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket.”

PA18 Democratic candidate Larry Maggi of Washington County:

“If Paul Ryan and Tim Murphy have their way, seniors will pay $6,000 more per year in out-of-pocket Medicare expenses while giving the average millionaire a $394,000 tax break.  Congress is taking the wrong approach.  To create new jobs and get our economy back on track, we need to cut wasteful spending—not on the backs of seniors and the middle-class."

Allegheny County Democratic chair Nancy Mills:

“Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for VP solidifies the message they have been sending to Allegheny County’s working families and seniors; you’re on your own."

US Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Allentown:

“I am thrilled that Governor Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate. In doing so, Gov. Romney has made the clearest, most unequivocal statement he could make that he intends his campaign and his presidency to be about solving America's greatest challenges.

”Congressman Ryan is one of Congress' strongest voices advocating for economic growth through free enterprise and fiscal sense through controlling spending. I'm delighted we have a Romney-Ryan ticket.”

Former Gov. Tom Ridge, R-Erie:

"Paul Ryan is an outstanding VP choice. A President Romney and Vice President Ryan will mean that my children and their generation will have a better future with principled leaders who will confront America's challenges with action, integrity and resolve.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, D-North Side:

"While President Obama has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans have a fair shot, Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan farther cements his out-of-touch vision for America. Romney and Ryan would pass a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans that would be paid for by the middle class. Further, Ryan was the chief architect of a budget that would annihilate America’s investment in education, Medicare and other programs that help residents of Pittsburgh get a fair shot. Simply put, President Obama will continue to take our country forward while Romney and Ryan would be America’s Go Back Team."

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