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Andy Griffith’s new role: pitching health care law

- Associated Press - Friday, July 30, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) - Actor Andy Griffith has a new role: pitching President Barack Obama's health care law to seniors in a cable television ad paid for by Medicare.

The TV star _ whose role as sheriff of Mayberry made him an enduring symbol of small-town American values _ tells seniors that "good things are coming" under the health care overhaul, including free preventive checkups and lower-cost prescriptions for Medicare recipients.

Polls show that seniors are more skeptical of the health care law than are younger people because Medicare cuts provide much of the financing to expand coverage for the uninsured. That could be a problem for Democrats in the fall congressional elections, because seniors vote in large numbers.

Medicare says the national ad is not political, but part of its outreach to educate seniors about new benefits available next year. The ad is slated to run on channels seniors watch, such as the Weather Channel, CNN, Hallmark and Lifetime, at an initial cost of $700,000.

Not even the 84-year-old Griffith could keep the ad from being pulled into the partisan politics of health care.

Said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky: "It's going to take more than slick taxpayer-funded ads to convince skeptical seniors that cutting a half-trillion dollars from Medicare is good for them."

But presidential adviser Stephanie Cutter said the law strengthens Medicare by reducing wasteful spending. "Seniors were the target of a major misinformation campaign," she wrote on the White House blog, saying the ads will help correct the record.

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Online:

Andy Griffith ad: http://tinyurl.com/22wnrrp

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