When a conservative Democrat takes the time to promise that he will not "kill old people," you really know Democrats are struggling to maintain their footing on healthcare reform.

So it's pretty stunning that Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), a leading Blue Dog Democrat, felt it necessary to make that pledge on CNN today.

"I will never vote for a bill to kill old people, period," he said.

For some context, here's Ross responding to the attack ads he says he's been seeing:
I read the newspaper this morning. $57 million has been spent in the last six months, most of it in the last 45 days, trying to scare folks. I saw an ad the other night on TV. It scared the living daylights out of me. But I went back and watched it again. It used the word "could" six times in 60 seconds.


I can tell you, I've laid down my set of principles, so I will not force government-run health care on anyone. If there ever is government-run health care, the first ones to sign up should be the president and every member of Congress, including myself. You should be able to keep the insurance you've got today, if you like it, and always choose your own doctor. No federal funding for illegal immigrants or for abortion, and no rationing of health care. I will never vote for a bill to kill old people, period. [emphasis added]

Just yesterday, Ross got a standing ovation when he bragged about standing up to President Obama and Nancy Pelosi.