August 31, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. — Even as Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan exhort Republicans to embrace their proposed Medicare changes and spending cuts, the party’s rank and file is growing less enthusiastic about the fight than the top of the ticket.
Republican lawmakers and candidates are distancing themselves from the Ryan budget plan, which helped make the proposed changes a national issue. Republicans say the party now belongs to the more senior — and historically more malleable — member of the ticket, Mr. Romney, and not Mr. Ryan, the younger conservative firebrand who has become the subject of repeated Democratic criticism.
“The plan is the Romney plan,” said Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota. “He’s the one that’s going to drive the agenda.”
The distancing ranges from subtle to stark. Some first-time House candidates, unencumbered by a vote on the Ryan plan, have told local news media outlets that they have not and will not endorse the proposals found in the vice-presidential nominee’s budget. Some veteran lawmakers who voted for the plan are demurring on whether it will be the party’s policy blueprint, while the few in tough races who voted against it have made their opposition a calling card. Continue reading “Ryan’s Budget Proposal Is Pitting G.O.P. Troops Against Top of the Ticket”
Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating — which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.
Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
Barack Obama touring the G.M. plant in Janesville, Wis., in 2008.
And Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, asserted that President Obama’s policies had “not helped create jobs” and that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” for America. He also warned that the president’s Medicare cuts would “hurt today’s seniors,” claims that have already been labeled false or misleading.
The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside.
In recent weeks, the Romney campaign has broadcast television advertisements leveling the widely debunked assertion that Mr. Obama had gutted the work requirements for welfare recipients. The Obama campaign, for its part, ran a deceptive ad saying that Mitt Romney had “backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest,” although he currently supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Continue reading “Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches”
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.
Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.
And Mr. Ryan — who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts — is still posing as a deficit hawk.
But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program. Continue reading “New York Times Op-Ed Columnist “The Medicare Killers””