AARP launched a new television ad campaign on Thursday urging Congress not to cut critical Medicare and Social Security benefits.

AARP said the budget for the campaign is several million dollars and that the TV spot will run both nationally and in local markets.

In conjunction with this, AARP is sending direct mail, e-mails and publications to its members, as well as making phone calls and planning “tele-townhall” meetings, urging them to make their voices heard. To date, AARP has gotten nearly 1.5 million individuals to sign a petition to Congress to protect these benefits.

“While some members of Congress are considering making changes to Medicare’s structure, what few people realize is that some proposals being discussed behind closed doors include harmful cuts to the critical Medicare and Social Security benefits that are lifelines for today’s seniors in Illinois,” said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. “Instead of harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security, Congress should cut wasteful spending, close tax loopholes and work to rein in costs throughout the healthcare system.”

Gallo added: “This campaign, along with our new ad, will put Congress on notice that AARP will fight with the strength of our millions of members to prevent harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security from being included in any deal to pay the nation’s bills.

In the ad, four senior citizens talk directly at the camera, expressing their appall at the potential cuts, commenting: “If Congress really wants to balance the budget, they could stop spending our money on this like a cotton institute in Brazil, poetry at zoos or treadmills for shrimp. But instead of cutting waste or closing tax loopholes, next month, Congress could make a deal that cuts Medicare, even Social Security. Protect Medicare and Social Security. Join our fight at”

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