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Not so Fast on Ryan Comparisons to Newt

April 4, 2012
In the middle of a particularly contentious daily briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confessed that "I keep getting throwbacks to the 1990s." Especially on a day when he was getting beat up by reporters pressing him to explain President Obama's less-than-precise comments about the Supreme Court, Carney could be excused for wanting to transport himself to another era. But for many Democrats, the urge to harken back to 1996 is a strong one. That was, after all, the last time a Democratic president ran for a second term and Bill Clinton's easy victory is still a pleasant memory for the party.

That nostalgia for 1996 helps explain why so many Democrats are delighted at the president's full-throated attack on Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican budget. The attack came before an influential audience of newspaper editors and publishers on Tuesday. As Michael Hirsh writes,  the effort to link likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney to Ryan and his controversial budget is, indeed, reminiscent of Clinton's successful campaign in 1996 to tie that year's nominee, Sen. Robert Dole, to the incendiary House Speaker of the day, Newt Gingrich.

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