Speaking at his alma mater Miami University in Ohio, Paul Ryan slammed President Obama for adopting Medicare cuts that, until last week, were openly supported by Ryan himself.
“The president, I’m told, is talking about Medicare today,” Ryan said. “We want this debate.”
Ryan went on to say that “what I don’t think he’ll be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the Medicare program — he raided it to pay for Obamacare.”
Like Romney, Ryan has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which included $716 billion in savings taken from health care providers, not seniors’ benefits. But unlike Romney, Ryan wrote and passed two Republican budgets that kept the cuts in place.
Romney, looking to get the upper hand on Medicare after picking Ryan, pledged this week to reverse the cuts even as he’s promised to close the entire budget deficit by the end of his second term.
Perhaps unwilling to fully embrace Romney’s attacks on the cuts themselves, Ryan parsed his words carefully — he only referred to them in the context of using the funds to finance the Affordable Care Act. But by claiming in Ohio that the cuts will hurt services to seniors, which the White House strongly denies, Ryan essentially accused himself of doing the same thing twice in his own budgets.
“The president’s campaign says this raid of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, which leads to fewer services for current seniors, is an achievement,” Ryan said. “Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Well, neither do I.”
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.