Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) steps up to the plate on defense cuts. “Ryan warned of the cuts to military spending outlined in sequestration, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts that will take effect if Congress doesn’t reach a budget solution in the next few months. Half of the cuts are set to come from the Pentagon.”

Many Republicans never thought Romney-Ryan would have stepped up like this on Medicare. “A new poll from respected GOP pollster David Winston shows Republicans have fought Democrats to a draw on Medicare messaging, a key issue most analysts believe will benefit Democrats this fall because of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan to partially privatize the program.”

At least France is stepping up. “France signaled Thursday that it was prepared to take part in enforcing a partial no-fly zone over Syria, piling pressure on President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime as it widens a major offensive against rebels in Damascus and surrounding areas.”

Not too many pundits stepped forward when Ryan was first picked to say he would be a help in swing states. “Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate appears to have energized some likely voters in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, according to a new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll. As many as 31 percent of Wisconsin voters say Romney’s pick of their native son makes them more likely to support Romney in the fall, according to the survey, conducted Aug. 15-21. Fewer (22 percent) say they would be less likely to do so while 45 percent say Ryan’s selection makes no difference.”

A fascinating story about how Romney stepped in to lead a Mormon missionary group when tragedy struck. Read the whole thing.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) will step up the attacks after the Sept. 25 deadline passes. “McCaskill avoids [Todd] Akin attacks in hopes of keeping him in the race.”

The sanctions are not working if Iran keeps stepping up its nuclear weapons program. “Iran has installed many more uranium enrichment machines in an underground bunker, diplomatic sources said on Thursday, potentially paving the way for a significant expansion of work the West fears is ultimately aimed at making nuclear bombs. Several sources said Iran had put in place additional enrichment centrifuges in its Fordow facility, buried deep inside a mountain to protect it against any enemy strikes.”