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Paul Ryan tries to stop the bleeding

By Ezra Klein,

By Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg Paul Ryan is heading to Chicago today to deliver a rebuttal to critics of his Medicare plan. Chicago, of course, is Obama’s hometown. Ryan has no particular connection to the city. But it’s a good place to go if you want the media to report on you as the Republican Party’s challenger to Barack Obama. One question, though: Does the Republican Party really want Ryan — and, in particular, Ryan’s plan — as their challenger to Obama?

At this point, more prospective Republican presidential candidates have endorsed some form of an individual mandate — Romney in his state, Gingrich nationally — than have endorsed Ryan’s Medicare plan. In fact, Gingrich has come out against Ryan’s Medicare plan, calling it “right-wing social engineering.” John Boehner has walked back his support for it, saying he is “not wedded to one single idea.” Michele Bachmann says she’s “concerned about shifting the cost burden to senior citizens.” Ryan’s plan appears to have turned a special election in an extremely Republican district into a dead heat.

This better be a damn good speech Ryan is giving today.

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