(CNN) – When Rep. Paul Ryan first revealed his House GOP budget proposal in the Spring of 2011, Democratic reaction was swift and biting. One much-maligned ad from a liberal advocacy group showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff, ending with the tagline: "Is America beautiful without Medicare? Ask Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress."
As Mitt Romney prepares to hit the trail with Ryan as his running mate, Democrats eager to pounce on the newly created Republican ticket are almost certainly preparing similar - if not quite so drastic - attacks against Ryan's controversial budget plan.
Judging from their past criticisms of Ryan's plan, Democrats seem likely to paint the apparent running mate as heartless for his proposed reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, the government-run heath care programs for senior citizens, the poor, and the disabled. And his proposals to alter the tax code, which have drawn Democratic ire, seem ripe for inclusion in ongoing attacks on Romney's own plans, which his rivals claim would benefit the rich while hurting the middle and lower class.
The $3.5 trillion Ryan budget plan seeks to stem ballooning federal debt and deficit by slashing spending and reforming Medicare and Medicaid. The House GOP plan also calls for a reduction in individual tax rates and brackets. Instead of today's six brackets, with rates from 10% to 35%, it calls for just two - 10% and 25%. The proposal would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, while dropping the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%.
Democrats – including President Barack Obama - compare Ryan's plan to an attack on the poor.
"It is thinly-veiled Social Darwinism," Obama said in April. "It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who's willing to work for it - a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class."
He added that "by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that's built to last - education and training; research and development; infrastructure - it's a prescription for decline."
During that speech, Obama mentioned Romney, who was then in the midst of a bitter Republican primary battle, for the first time as a potential opponent.
"He said that he's very supportive of this new budget and he even called it marvelous, which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget," Obama said.
According to Ryan, Obama used his speech to "distort the truth and divide Americans in order to distract from his failed record."
In his opposition to Ryan's budget, Obama echoed the words of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said in May 2011 the plan amounted to "right-wing social engineering."
"I think that that is too big a jump," Gingrich said, referring to Ryan's proposal to replace Medicare with a voucher program. "I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options."
Gingrich later softened his remarks, saying he supported Ryan's proposal.
Other Democrats have aligned with Obama's assessment of the Ryan budget. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter in April the plan was "a path to poverty for America's seniors & children and a road to riches for big oil."
And Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida – the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee – called the plan a "death trap" in April 2011.
"You are going to have some seniors not survive because they won't be able to either get access to a nursing home or they will get kicked out of a nursing home and they will have to make it on their own," Wasserman Schultz said on CNN.
Those attacks – that the plan would hurt middle class families while benefiting the rich – are closely aligned with Democrats' hits on Romney. Obama's campaign and his allied super PAC have both run television advertisements portraying the presumptive GOP nominee as both out of touch with working Americans and focused solely on cutting taxes for the wealthy.
With Ryan as a running mate, those attacks seem unlikely to subside.
CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.