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The Associated Press August 11, 2010, 9:16AM ET

Lincoln criticizes Boozman on Social Security

Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln criticized Congressman John Boozman's record on Social Security and Medicare on Tuesday, while Boozman accused the incumbent lawmaker of trying to scare seniors as she tries to fend off his challenge for her Arkansas seat.

At a campaign stop at a Little Rock nursing home, Lincoln said that she has a better record of protecting the programs for seniors than Boozman.

"He has consistently supported privatizing Social Security and making cuts to Medicare, things that I think are devastating to us," Lincoln told residents at the Briarwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Lincoln mentioned in particular Boozman's past support of a plan touted by former President George W. Bush that would have allowed people to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. Lincoln would not say whether she believes Boozman would try and privatize Social Security if elected to the Senate.

"All you can go on is what he's done in the past," Lincoln told reporters after her campaign event.

Lincoln's campaign also cited two votes that Boozman made that included cuts to Medicare, including an alternative budget presented by House Republicans last year. The proposal, which was rejected in the House, included a provision that called for eliminating traditional fee-for-service Medicare for individuals who reach age 65 in 2020 or later and replacing it with coverage from private insurance companies.

Boozman accused Lincoln of distorting his record and trying to scare older voters into believing he'll cut their benefits.

"One of the favorite plans of attack for Democrats is to try and scare seniors. ... Her comments are irresponsible," Boozman told The Associated Press.

Boozman said he believes there should be discussion about ways to keep Social Security viable for workers now in their 20s and 30s, and said that investing in private accounts is one option that should be considered.

But, Boozman said, "over my dead body are we going to cut benefits for those who have retired and those are about to retire."

Boozman also defended his record on Medicare, saying that one of the reasons he voted against the health care overhaul was because of concerns about the impact it will have on the program.

Lincoln is seeking a third term and is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents seeking re-election this year. Most polls have shown Boozman leading Lincoln in the race.

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