The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 29, 2012

Altmire ad throws fuel on 12th district fire

Mike Faher
mfaher@tribdem.com

— U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire’s latest campaign ad features the three-term congressman in a relaxed pose: His sleeves are rolled up as he speaks directly into the camera while seated at a lunch counter.

But the 30-second spot has ruffled Altmire’s opponent in the April 24 Democratic primary, U.S. Rep. Mark Critz – so much so that the Johnstown congressman on Thursday enlisted two fellow House members to condemn the ad as “completely false.”

“It’s actually blatantly the opposite of what the truth is, so it’s frustrating,” Critz said during a conference call with reporters.

An Altmire spokesman shot back by saying the Pittsburgh-area congressman “has never failed to take a stand and will never play Mark Critz’s D.C. insider games when the future of Social Security and Medicare are on the line.”

At issue is a 2011 vote in which, Altmire claims in his ad, “Critz didn’t vote against the tea party budget that would dismantle Medicare and gut Social Security.”

Critz voted “present” on the conservative budget bill. That, he said, was a procedural move in which he and the vast majority of other House Democrats planned to facilitate the bill’s demise.

“The goal was to force them to pass the tea party budget, because we knew that it would die in the Senate,” Critz said.

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