The newspapers in senior-laden Florida were filled with headlines this morning about how risky of a choice Paul Ryan is as Mitt Romney’s running mate, mainly because of his calling card: The Ryan Budget, which would cut trillions from Medicare spending.
And yesterday in a debate with Romney campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom on “Face the Nation” yesterday, Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter was talking up the president’s budget when she started touting his own Medicare reforms:
“Ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more. Cuts waste from the government. Reform Medicare. More than $300 billion in savings from Medicare on top of the savings we have already achieved. You know I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cut in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform. You know what those cuts are? Taking subsidies away from insurance companies. Taking rebates away from prescription drug companies. Is that what Mitt Romney wants to protect?”
The Romney campaign, preparing to be hammered over the cuts in Mr. Ryan’s plan, quickly called out the fact that Ms. Cutter was talking about cuts. Said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul:
After four years of economic policies that have disappointed the middle class, President Obama has decided to campaign on how he ‘achieved’ cutting $700 billion from Medicare. With crushing new debt and looming tax hikes on families and job creators, it’s clear Americans can’t afford any more of President Obama’s achievements. Mitt Romney will deliver a new direction that cuts spending, keeps taxes low for middle-class families, and saves Medicare for future generations.
The exchange points to how difficult this issue is for campaigns to talk about. Everybody wants to cut the deficit, and no place seems more ripe than Medicare. But say it, and you risk turning off older voters.
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