Barber snags seniors group's backing in race for Giffords seat

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Asked what steps he would take to restore solvency to costly entitlements, Barber pointed to a fix to prescription benefits to prevent drug companies from charging whatever they want, and to "an increased crackdown on fraud and abuse."

Barber and Kelly have been trading barbs over programs for senior citizens in what has become a proxy battle between the campaign arms of House Democrats and House Republicans.

Kelly has accused Barber of supporting cuts to Medicare via President Obama's healthcare reform law. But Barber has pointed out that Kelly has repeatedly advocated for the privatization, phasing out or eventual elimination of entitlements.

"It is a fact that Ron Barber supports ObamaCare, which cuts $500 billion from Medicare," said Kelly spokesman John Ellinwood. "He opposes repealing ObamaCare, which is the only way to prevent these cuts. Jesse Kelly will vote to repeal ObamaCare in order to protect seniors and their access to care."

Kelly and Barber will square off in a June 12 special election to finish Giffords's term. A separate, regular election will be conducted in the fall for the full term that starts in 2013.