“He was the one nominee who could actually do damage to the ticket,” said Bill Burton, a co-founder of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supports Obama. “Everybody else was fairly neutral. No doubt he will fire up conservatives, but he also comes with so many liabilities from his budget that Romney will come to think he made a sizable mistake attaching himself so closely to Paul Ryan.”
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina referred to Ryan as a “radical” in a statement on Saturday, and other Democrats already have begun to use Ryan in their fundraising solicitations, warning supporters of his appeal to far-right conservatives who will throw money at the Romney campaign. Obama’s five fundraising events Sunday were expected to take in at least $6.4 million as the president attempts to keep pace with Romney, who has outraised him the past three months.
The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
If Mitt Romney wins the White House in November, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will join a long line of U.S. vice presidents who came to the office after spending time at the other end of Congress.
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On the other side, Republicans believe Ryan will put Obama on the defensive over the spiraling national debt. Obama has centered his campaign on an appeal to the middle class, emphasizing his belief that the federal government should play a role in investing in public needs such as infrastructure, education and health care.
But Republicans have accused him of allowing the deficit to grow while pumping money into government programs, such as the stimulus package and the health-care overhaul, without fully energizing the economy. In responding to past criticism from Obama over Ryan’s Medicare proposals, Romney and other Republicans have charged that the president’s health-care plan moves $700 billion from Medicare to pay for other health-related programs.
David Axelrod, the president’s senior campaign adviser, defended Obama against those charges Sunday, noting on ABC’s “This Week” program that Ryan incorporated the same $700 billion cut into his budget proposal.
“The difference is that the president is trying to strengthen Medicare,” Axelrod said. “Under the changes the president made, seniors are getting more prescription coverage and preventative care. . . . The Romney-Ryan plan would not do that. In fact, by turning it into a voucher program . . . ultimately they’re going to shift thousands of dollars onto the backs of seniors and Medicare itself will be in a death spiral.”