August 12th, 2012
11:56 AM ET
2 years ago

Republicans say Ryan's Medicare plan not a deal breaker for seniors

(CNN) - Republicans heralding their party's vice presidential candidate said Sunday that Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed overhaul of Medicare would be a boon to their chances in November, rather than a liability – though they quickly pointed out Mitt Romney would advance his own budget policy as president.

"It is the Romney-Ryan ticket, and as president, Romney will be putting forth his own budget," Senior Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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Gillespie's statement affirms a set of Republican talking points obtained by CNN Saturday, which guided surrogates for Romney to point out that the top name on the ticket would be offering his own budget plan if elected president.

Ryan's plan, which Democrats claim would effectively end Medicare, was first advanced in 2011. His proposals include the provision that Medicare-approved private insurers would one day compete with traditional Medicare on an exchange. The plan's opponents say that would increase the financial burden on senior citizens.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis raised that point of the latest Ryan budget, issued this spring - but did not make a forecast.

READ MORE: Paul Ryan economics: 5 things to know

Gillespie on Sunday did not say that Romney opposed Ryan's plan, and said if he were president and the Ryan plan was presented as the nation's budget, he would sign it.

"One of the reasons that he chose Congressman Ryan is his willingness to put forward innovative solutions in the budget," Gillespie told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, also appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," said voters needed to be educated about Ryan's plan, admitting it would be a "challenge" to overcome perceptions that the House GOP budget unfairly cuts government services.

"I think that you always have the challenge when you are explaining something like that to be able to help people out there, the American public, understand, educate them on what is at stake," Thune said. "I think that the biggest risk for the country is doing nothing. That is what ends Medicare as we know it. That is doing nothing. You have to have a plan to fix it."

Paul Ryan, Thune said, had at least had proposed some solution to a ballooning federal debt.

"I think that Paul Ryan, to his credit, whether you like it or not, has come up with a plan that puts Medicare on a more sustainable fiscal path going forward," Thune said.

Asked Sunday if Ryan's absence from Romney's bus trip in Florida – a state a large population of seniors - was because of the changes to Medicare in his proposed budget plan, campaign adviser Kevin Madden said splitting the two candidates was more about spreading resources than avoiding tough questions from Florida's large senior population.

"This has more to do with expanding our bandwidth," Madden said. "Gov. Romney is going to be talking about the issues that are important to Floridians."

CNN's Lex Haris contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Ed Gillespie • John Thune • Kevin Madden
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    No... Not a deal breaker...if you're counting on seniors to all have dementia!! Seniors will tell Paul Ryan and his immoral budget to take a hike. Mitt already knows this and doesn't want an issue in FL until he has any potential backlash out of the headlines. THAT'S why Ryan isn't going to FL. The compassionless Republican "Dream Team" is hoping you'll be asleep in November.

    August 12, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Tom

    Romney-HOOD/Ryan-HOOD is a losing ticket and not just in FL. And the convention is in Tampa? Lots of luck on holding it there, alexithymic Mitt!

    August 12, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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