Mitt Romney left it to his campaign surrogates yesterday to gush over Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization plan and bash Newt Gingrich’s early opposition. But today, the candidate discussed it himself in Iowa.
Asked by an audience member at a rally whether he would sign Ryan’s plan, Romney danced around the question but made clear that he had plenty of love for the Wisconsin congressman’s approach.
“When his plan came out I applauded it as a very important step, I said my plan would be a little different,” Romney said. “This is a place where Speaker Gingrich and I disagree. He called this ‘right-wing social engineering.’ I believe it is a very important step; to protect Medicare and to protect Social Security we’re going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed.”
Democrats have been eagerly watching Mitt Romney to see how close he’ll hug Paul Ryan’s politically explosive Medicare plan on his quest to blunt Gingrich’s momentum. They almost certainly will be holding onto today’s clips for future use.
For what it’s worth, Romney has said in the past he would support Ryan’s plan as president if Congress passed it.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.