Rep. Paul Ryan’s presence on the Republican presidential ticket with Mitt Romney has sparked a political battle over the future of Medicare and the federal budget. Social Security may be next.
In his two latest budget blueprints, the man many Republicans deem their party’s intellectual leader ignored Social Security. But before that, the Wisconsin lawmaker spearheaded efforts to partially privatize the program by letting people invest some of their money in the stock market.
Republicans and Democrats alike say they expect that past will reemerge in the heat of the presidential campaign.
Until now, both sides have been content to leave Social Security out of the debate. But in what could be a preview of the Obama campaign approach, Vice President Joe Biden promised voters this week in Virginia that there would be “no changes” in Social Security.
That doesn’t square with past reports that President Obama is open to changes, but it does set the stage for attacks on Ryan’s past positions. They won’t necessarily be effective — the GOP presidential ticket has tried to turn Ryan’s controversial Medicare proposals into an asset, for instance, a strategy that could be replicated with Social Security.
But at minimum, it’s an attack that’s proven effective in the past, and the Romney campaign will have to prepare for it. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Analysis: Mitt Romney Seeks To Shift the Tax Return Debate
[Washington Post, 8/16/12] Mitt Romney’s announcement that he has paid at least a 13 percent tax rate in the past 10 years was a tactical maneuver meant to shift the burden of proof on to Democrats, Chris Cillizza writes.
Ryan Denies Seeking Stimulus Money
Paul Ryan told a Cincinnati television station in an interview airing on Thursday that he “never asked for stimulus” money made available by the Recovery Act, contradicting documents that show he advocated for Wisconsin companies seeking funds.
Ryan Budget Plan Adopted Medicare Cuts From Affordable Care Act
[National Journal, 8/15/12] In both of his budget blueprints, Ryan included the same cuts to Medicare that Democrats used to pay for their health care law, partially in order to avoid a hit on defense spending.
Republicans See a Medicare Retort
[Wall Street Journal, 8/15/12] The GOP is drawing lessons from a House election last year in Nevada on Medicare: Former state Sen. Mark Amodei turned the tables in the Nevada special election by arguing that his Democratic opponent supported Medicare cuts that were part of the 2010 health care reform law.
Ryan: China Treating Obama Like a ‘Doormat’
[National Journal, 8/16/12] In his first foray into foreign policy in a campaign speech, Ryan on Thursday accused Obama of failing to stop China’s economic cheating. Romney frequently breaks out this line, which is popular with blue-collar workers who have seen their jobs shipped overseas.
GOP Ticket’s Views on Renewable Energy Raise Concerns in Rural Red States
[National Journal, 8/15/12] Romney opposes a wind-energy production tax credit that has helped farmers bring in extra income by leasing their land to wind producers. Meanwhile, Ryan opposes a national mandate for ethanol production, a policy that’s driven up demand for corn.
What To Do About Political Lies?
[Atlantic, 8/16/12] Fact-checking was a great development in accountability journalism, but perhaps it’s time for a new approach. The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta writes that the solution now lies in repeated boilerplate, either inserted by editors or by writers who save it as background.
Jindal, Portman Tapped as Convention Speakers
[National Journal, 8/16/12] The Republican National Committee has announced six more speakers for the party’s national convention in Tampa this summer, and the roster includes several former Romney veep prospects: Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Ohio's Sen. Rob Portman, among others.
Can Voter-ID Laws Affect the Outcome of an Election?
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/16/12] As many as 11 percent of eligible voters in 10 states with the toughest voter-ID laws don’t have the required photo or government-issued IDs. Of those states, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have the real potential to be competitive between Romney and Obama.
Ryan Choice Poses New Challenges for Biden
[Washington Post, 8/15/12] Biden must defend the Obama record against a longtime congressman known for being a quick-minded policy expert while, associates say, keeping an eye on a potential 2016 White House bid of his own.
Mission Impossible: Managing Joe Biden
[Politico, 8/16/12] As evidenced by Biden’s most recent gaffe on the campaign trail, the vice president’s press staff sometimes has a difficult time managing his coverage. But Politico's Jonathan Martin reports his staff has a history of trying to edit pool reports and cut off interviews.
Playing Political Chicken
[National Journal, 8/16/12] The country is more divided than ever – ideologically, politically, culturally, and even over chicken sandwiches. Consumer researchers have found a strong correlation between our spending, eating, and drinking habits and our political actions: In 2008, Obama carried 81 percent of counties that have a Whole Foods outpost, but just 36 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel.
Is It Possible To Know the Real Romney?
[CBS News, 8/16/12] One of the purposes of a press pool is to give Americans a sense of who the candidate is as a person. The problem is that when you’re under the microscope, your daily life — and your personality — tend to look a lot different than they did before anyone was watching.
Ryan’s Immigration Shift Leaves Both Sides Uncomfortable
[The Hill, 8/16/12] Ryan has a long history of backing bills granting some illegal immigrants legal status, but he also has a record of supporting tougher enforcement measures, and he recently vowed to oppose any “amnesty” proposals. With immigration certain to play a role on the campaign trail, advocates on both sides of the legalization debate are combing Ryan’s immigration record.
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