8:54 am Aug. 13, 2012
On Sunday morning, everyone was happy about Paul Ryan.
Conservatives cheered the "bold" pick they had been clamoring for, and Democrats were pleased to see Mitt Romney add a "right wing ideologue" to the ticket.
The hosts seemed pleased, too.
"This is an exciting time," said David Gregory. "We are in a new phase of this campaign ... There is this new intensity."
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who recently criticized Romney for running his campaign primarily as a referendum on President Obama, said the Ryan pick was "game changing, and it's unique."
"And I think it shows just how courageous Mitt Romney is," added Walker, who grew up near Ryan in Wisconsin.
(John McCain, who set the standard for attempted game-changers, agreed with the assessment on "Fox News Sunday," comparing Ryan to his pick of Sarah Palin, in a good way.)
But for all the talk about how Romney was now boldly embracing an issues-driven campaign, Republicans weren't overly eager to embrace the Ryan economic plan.
"I think that Mitt Romney appreciates and admires the work and the ideas that Paul Ryan has done, but Mitt Romney has his own plan," said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on "Meet the Press."
And the idea that the Ryan pick would organically give rise to a more substantive debate was itself turned into an attack.
Talking about entitlement programs, which the Ryan economic plan would cut, Priebus accused the president of having "blood on his hands" for allegedly siphoning $700 billion from Medicare to help finance his health care plan.
And Romney's senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said he would title Obama's campaign strategy "Fifty Shades of Mud," in the course of explaining that the Romney campaign is now above such mud-slinging, since it has Ryan on the ticket.
"Paul Ryan has a budget," Fehrnstrom said. "Barack Obama has no plan."
Democrats were generally more excited to wade into the specifics of Ryan's budget from last year, which cuts taxes at the expense of entitlement programs.
"We'd love to have a substantive debate," said Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter. "As of yesterday, Mitt Romney put some substance on the table. We'd love to talk about it."
David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama's campaign, also hinted at some additional criticisms of Ryan, including his time in the House under George W. Bush.
"This was a guy who rubber-stamped every aspect of the Bush economic policy, including not paying for two wars, a Medicare prescription plan, two big tax cuts," said Axelrod, echoing a complaint from some conservatives. "And now he wants trillions of dollars of more budget-busting tax cuts skewed to the wealthy. He really isn't in a strong position to talk about this problem."
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