U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert is no longer taking part in a Tuesday debate that was sponsored by AARP and would have been broadcast on WLS.
Biggert, a Republican from Hinsdale, informed the group today -- one day after a House Majority PAC launched a TV ad attack against the congresswoman. The ad includes a pull quote dated April 6, 2011 that was attributed to AARP. The commercial has Biggert's name at the top of the screen and the pull quote says: "Increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare's promise of secure health coverage."
When contacted, AARP confirmed Biggert pulled out but said the congresswoman would have to explain why.
"We were informed by the Biggert campaign that they were withdrawing," said Heather Heppner Associate State Director for Communications for AARP of Illinois. "Certainly, we're disappointed that we cannot continue with the debate."
Biggert and her Democratic opponent Bill Foster are in a tight race for the 11th congressional district, which was redrawn to favor Democrats.
"Congresswoman Biggert has broken her commitment to seniors yet again, and now refuses explain why she voted to slash their hard-earned benefits, " Foster, said in a statement. "The Ryan/Biggert budget would end the guaranteed benefit for Medicare, force seniors to pay more for their prescriptions starting immediately and leave future seniors with thousands of dollars in additional costs. "
Clearly viewing Illinois as fertile ground to win over congressional seats, the House Majority PAC, which aims to put Democrats back into the lead in Washington, on Tuesday disclosed it had pumped $2.4 million into the three key Chicago-area races - including U.S. House races in the 8th, 10th and 11th congressional districts. One ad, called "loud" uses Joe Walsh as a centerpiece to attack three Republican races.
Biggert's campaign says she withdrew because AARP was not acting "as a neutral arbiter."
"We regret that we were compelled to withdraw from next week's AARP debate as the organization has proven itself unable to act as a neutral arbiter. AARP was cited, and its logo used, by no less than three liberal organizations in mail and on television to attack Judy Biggert and impugn her record on issues vital to seniors. When contacted on this matter, AARP officials made it clear that they were unwilling to stop this use of their logo and imprimatur. As a result, we severely doubted the ability of the organization to act as a impartial and objective host in this forum."
Here's the ad specifically targeting Biggert.
And then there's this DCCC ad, which also cites AARP as it slams Biggert, saying she gave herself pay raises while seniors paid more for Medicare.