Miami retiree Richard Malcy thinks Medicare works just fine. When the 69-year-old accountant’s asthma flares up, he goes to his doctor and the federal government pays the bill.
The overhaul proposed by Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan wouldn't change that. But Malcy doesn't buy it. “I don’t believe a lot of what politicians say,” said Malcy, a Democrat who says he can’t trust either party. “Romney and Ryan not only scare me but confuse me.”
There lies the rub. Ryan’s plan would not affect seniors, a point conveniently left out when Democrats—including President Obama—attack the plan. But facts and perceptions do not always comport, meaning Ryan, the leading voice for Medicare reform in Congress, could jeopardize the Republican ticket in must-win states with large elderly populations.
Nowhere will the Medicare debate matter more than in Florida, where 22 percent of the 2008 vote was 65 or older and 49 percent was at least 50 years old. Both campaigns will be focused on the state in coming weeks, selling their version of Medicare facts.
Ryan will make his first sales pitch this weekend and it is noteworthy that he’s starting out on friendly turf: a sprawling retirement community near Orlando known for greeting GOP candidates like rock stars.
He’s also playing what might be called the mom card. When Ryan makes his debut on the campaign trail in Florida, his 78-year-old mother will be at his side. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Analysis: The GOP Counterargument on Medicare
[National Journal, 8/17/12] The Romney camp is betting that having a conversation about Medicare allows them to bring President Obama’s unpopular health care law into the equation as well.
Ten Things You Need to Know About the Medicare Debate
[National Journal, 8/17/12] With all the spin and bluster about what the candidates would do to the beloved health insurance program for seniors, National Journal’s Margot Sanger-Katz offers 10 oft-distorted facts you need to know about the program and the plans.
Ad Spending Tops Half-Billion Mark
[National Journal, 8/17/12] National Journal’s Reid Wilson puts into perspective the money Obama, Romney, and their respective partisan allies have dumped on television advertising this election cycle: If the two sides had pooled their resources, they could have purchased two new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets and had more than $100 million left over.
Obama Camp Offers Deal for Five Years of Romney Taxes
[National Journal, 8/17/12] Obama campaign manager Jim Messina penned an open letter on Friday, requesting five years of Romney’s tax returns and in exchange promising not to criticize him for not releasing more. The Romney camp was cool to the offer.
Is Joe Biden a Liability for Obama?
[Washington Post, 8/17/12] Obama says he’s sticking with Vice President Joe Biden for his ticket, but almost every recent poll has shown Biden’s numbers at a low point – even prior to his latest foibles.
Ryan Strikes Populist Tone in Virginia
[National Journal, 8/17/12] Ryan on Friday suggested collusion between big government and big business, accusing the administration of trying to “rig the rules” against the middle class. This argument is more often made by Democrats, who blame deregulation for the economic crisis.
Secret 'Menu' Details Perks for Big Democratic Donors
[ABC News, 8/17/12] Those seeking invites to the most lavish receptions at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, "gold ticket" access to "dialogues," and private breakfast briefings with party luminaries can expect a hefty price of admission – up to $1 million in donations, in some cases.
Romney’s Wife, Sons Pushed Ryan Pick
[BuzzFeed, 8/17/12] Ann Romney and the most politically engaged of the Romney sons were early advocates for Ryan to join the ticket, having grown friendly with him and his wife over the course of the summer's vetting process, according to “people close to the family and campaign” who spoke with BuzzFeed.
Ryan Backtracks, Acknowledges Stimulus Request
[National Journal, 8/16/12] Ryan told an Ohio television station that he “never asked for stimulus” money, but had to backtrack on that claim after reports surfaced noting that he had written letters in 2009 to Energy Secretary Steven Chu supporting grant applications for stimulus funds. He said that while he never personally asked for funding, his staff had written in support of it.
Republicans Mock Obama for Softball Interviews
[ABC News, 8/17/12] Republicans are taking Obama to task for evading public questioning by the White House press corps for more than eight weeks, while instead granting a series of interviews to entertainment media outlets and largely discussing frivolous subjects.
Obama’s Investment Not Yielding New Voters
[Boston Globe, 8/16/12] Despite pouring resources into scores of voter-registration events in the last week alone, a Boston Globe analysis found that the Obama campaign has failed to significantly swell the rolls of Democratic voters in battleground states. Team Obama pushed back against the report, saying registration efforts are going as expected.
Van Hollen to Play Ryan in Veep Debate Prep
[New York Times, 8/16/12] Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., might have some insight as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, so he’ll be playing the role of Ryan when Biden starts practicing in mock debates.