In their first joint interview as running mates, Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended the House Budget chairman’s controversial Medicare plan against critics who say it would do away with the an essential piece of country’s social safety net.
“What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors — no changes, by the way, for current seniors or those nearing retirement — but looking for young people down the road and saying, ‘We’re going to give you a bigger choice,’” Romney told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on “60 Minutes.”
“Our point is, we need to preserve their benefits,” Ryan added. “… In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger.”
Ryan dismissed calls from both parties for Romney to release more of his tax returns. He gave Romney “several” years of tax returns, and said he will release two years publicly. “I think these issues are more or less distractions to try and take us off the fact that the president has given us failed policies that are putting us deeper into debt, that are costing us jobs,” he added.
Asked how he ultimately decided on Ryan as his running mate, Romney said Ryan has the “experience and judgment, capacity and character to become president. And that was the most important criteria.”
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Additional reporting by Evan McMorris-Santoro.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com