Mitt Romney has finally found a way to attack President Obama that is as powerful as Obama's attacks on his Bain Capital career: Despite picking a running mate who built his political career advocating turning Medicare into a voucher program, two new polls show Obama has no advantage over Romney on Medicare.
Knowing Democrats would attack the Ryan plan as "ending Medicare are we know it" — according to the Pew Research Center, people who have heard of Paul Ryan's plan, only 35 percent support it, while 49 percent oppose it — Romney's campaign launched a preemptive strike on the issue accusing Obama of raiding $716 billion from Medicare to pay for "Obamacare," implying that old folks will see fewer benefits. But that $716 billion is made up of cuts to how much providers can bill the government, not to benefits, and, as The New York Times noted last week, reversing the cuts would actually lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for patients. In any event, Ryan's plan makes the same cuts. Still, Romney has made four TV or Web ads on Medicare. And they're working.
A CNN/ORC International poll finds Obama leading Romney 49 percent to 48 percent on who would best handle Medicare, while an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 45 percent trust Romney more on health care for old people, and 42 percent trust Obama more. Last week, polls of three swing states showed Romney gaining ground. It's possible that gain is related to his ads on Medicare and welfare, just as Obama's gains in swing states earlier this summer were widely attributed to his Bain Capital ads.