Priebus: Obama, Not Ryan, Has Blood on His Hands on Medicare

National Journal

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus took a hard, defensive line Sunday morning on the issues that are taking a new starring role in the campaign after Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate on Saturday.

In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Priebus was pushed by host David Gregory on Ryan's Medicare plan. "If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it's Barack Obama," Priebus said. "He's the one that's destroying Medicare."

Scrutiny of Republican policies on Medicare is likely to increase now that the GOP ticket includes Ryan, who has spent years championing provocative reform efforts often criticized by Democrats.

Priebus called Romney's choice a game changer, saying that Americans are "hungry for people who govern like they campaign," and repeatedly citing the "leadership and courage" of the two candidates. But Priebus repeatedly found himself on the defensive over Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget plan. When asked if Ryan's plan for Medicare is Mitt Romney's, Priebus said that Romney "appreciates and admires the work Paul Ryan has done, but he has his own plans."

The RNC chairman was also asked about the lack of foreign policy experience on the new GOP ticket. But Priebus defended the experience of both candidates, saying that "fourteen years in Congress, many trips overseas, many trips in the middle east" mean that Romney and Ryan will be "ready on day one."

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