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Democrats Find Useful Fodder in Paul Ryan's Record

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
A memo circulated by Caucus Vice Chairman Charles Schumer on Tuesday encourages his fellow Democratic Senators to continue to criticize the GOP over the Ryan budget plan and Medicare.

Democrats and affiliated outside groups have already run ads against vulnerable Republican incumbents on the Medicare front, highlighting Ryan's plan even before he was chosen as vice presidential nominee.

The Senate Democrats' memo contains little new material. For instance, Democrats have criticized Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) for voting in favor of the House budget plan as both a Representative and a Senator.

In his memo, Schumer encourages his fellow Democrats to continue to press on Medicare, even as the Romney campaign steps up attacks on Obama over taking money from the popular entitlement program.

"The bottom line is this: in choosing Ryan as his running mate, Romney has nationalized the debate over Ryan's unpopular Medicare plan. For this gambit to succeed, Romney will need to defy the laws of political gravity," Schumer said.

While the memo reprises past debates about Medicare and taxes, Schumer also wants Senate Democrats to add broader budget critiques, saying the goal is to demonstrate Ryan is not a "deficit hawk." He cites estimates that say Ryan's budget resolution would not balance in the near future.

"The math does not add up in Ryan's own budget," Schumer writes. "Even taking the unrealistically rosy assumptions that Ryan stipulates in his budget (for instance, that revenue levels would be 19 percent of GDP), his plan would not balance the budget until 2040."

The additional line of attack on the Ryan budget is intended by Schumer to
undermine the Romney campaign narrative about the Ryan selection that he is a serious leader on deficit reduction efforts.

"If we can succeed in showing voters how Ryan is not really a deficit hawk at all - that he prioritizes conservative ideology over balancing the budget - the rationale for his selection is gone, and Romney's political high-wire act will fail," Schumer concluded.

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