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Van Hollen On DNC Speech, Paul Ryan Relationship, House Races Van Hollen On DNC Speech, Paul Ryan Relationship, House Races

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Van Hollen On DNC Speech, Paul Ryan Relationship, House Races


Van Hollen thought the nomination of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., for vice president has hurt Republicans in House races. Previously, candidates had been able to run away from Ryan's budget proposal, Van Hollen said, but now they must address it. National Journal Hotline Editor Reid Wilson looks on. (Kristoffer Tripplaar)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen's stock is certainly rising, thanks in part to Mitt Romney picking Van Hollen's budgetary nemesis Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. And the Maryland Democrat is gearing up to throw the punches tonight when he delivers a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

"I'm going to flush out the two different visions and choices between President Barack Obama and the Romney-Ryan ticket. And fundamentally, when you look at the choice, you have the president's plan, which says you have to continue to grow the economy... but also we have to reduce our deficit in a balanced way," Van Hollen said Wednesday at an event hosted by National Journal, The Atlantic and CBS News.

"You contrast that with the Romney-Ryan approach, because they don't ask for one more penny from very wealthy individuals, then that's where the math follows, everyone else is hit really hard," Van Hollen added.

Van Hollen's speech will come the week after Ryan delivered his own address to the Republican National Convention, which drew criticism for how he described the United States' losing its AAA credit rating and the closing of a Wisconsin auto plant, among other assertions he made.

"I get along well with Paul Ryan personally. We do have these very deep policy differences, and we debate them vigorously," Van Hollen said. "I was very disappointed with Paul Ryan's acceptance speech... It was a three-alarm fire for the fact-checkers."

With Democrats confident they can hold the Senate, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asserting that they would win 27 House seats in November, Van Hollen also made some predictions.

He said that such a gain is "achievable" if "we continue with the momentum that we've got and that the president continues to do well in some of these key states."

"These races have really sharpened because Paul Ryan was added to the ticket. There are lots of Republican House members who were running away from the Ryan budget," Van Hollen, past chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said. "That's easier to do when the author of that plan is not on the presidential ticket."

But what of those districts where President Obama is polling poorly? They aren't a total write-off for House Democrats, Van Hollen said, because an overall boost in voter turnout could throw those elections in Democrats' favor, even in "tougher districts."

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