-- "Listen, everything is on the table right now and the people understand everything is on the table," Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), a top target of Democrats, said when asked by Talking Points Memo if he had concerns about privatizing and cutting Medicare. "People recognize that we're in a financial emergency and as a result of that to say that something is not on the table is really irresponsible and I'm thankful that we have people like Congressman Ryan working and coming up with a plan." -- Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), a top Republican recruit challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D), offered general praise, but cautioned that some of the specifics may need tweaking. "A fresh set of ideas were brought to the table today. Some are good, and some will need to be improved, but they're out there in the open for anyone to see and debate. This budget is a starting point, not a final product," he said, later adding, "Now, it will be up to the people of Montana to tell me what they think. I'm ready to listen, and to learn." -- "He said it was a bold first step, and creates a foundation to review all government spending programs for the necessity and effectiveness," said Sen. Richard Lugar's (R-Ind.) spokesperson Mark Helmke, when asked how Lugar responded to Ryan's proposal. -- Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) praised Ryan's proposal to give block grants to state Medicaid programs, but did not weigh in on the Medicare portion. "A major component of his plan includes giving the states flexibility they need in managing Medicaid. The block grant approach is exactly what we in Florida are asking for as we reform the state's Medicaid program," Haridopolos said. -- Likely Florida Senate candidate Adam Hasner (R) told Hotline On Call: "We need to lead, and his proposal recognizes the fact that we can't be concerned about political consequences and political risk...There are major consequences to our country if we fail to act." -- Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is mulling a Senate bid, offered general praise of the proposal, but did not get into specific elements including Medicare. "The Budget Committee has produced a reality-based ten year budget that puts our country back on the path to prosperity and averts a European style fiscal crisis," he said in a statement. The DSCC points out that Akin "was standing shoulder to shoulder with Paul Ryan when the privatization plan was announced." -- Josh Kraushaar contributed to this report.
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