5:32 pm Aug. 14, 2012
At an endorsement event for Wendy Long this morning, three Republicans and a Conservative insisted Paul Ryan would be a helpful counterpoint to Democrats up and down the ballot.
"We need reform, Ryan has put together a plan that does just that," said Representative Bob Turner, who was there to offer his official endorsement of Long.
He was joined by Republican chairman Ed Cox and Conservative Party chairman Mike Long.
"Is it a bitter pill?" Turner said. "Well, we'll let the survivors decide. But we are seeing what happens when those problems aren't addressed. Turn on the news, look at Greece."
In his remarks, Turner, whose seat is being eliminated at the end of the year, spoke of the need to "put the adults back in charge" of the Senate, and said the country needs to "get our act together, or we go off this financial cliff."
"That being said, here's our girl," Turner said by way of introduction, before giving Long a kiss on the cheek.
Long, who trounced Turner in a primary in June, spoke of the congressman as an inspiration for her uphill candidacy, which may have gotten more difficult with the selection of Ryan, whose presence has already pushed the thorny issue of entitlement reform back to the forefront of the national campaign.
Ryan's plan would end Medicare in its current form, but Republican have emphasized since his selection was announced that it wouldn't apply to people over 55.
I asked Turner, who campaigned for Congress on a promise to preserve entitlements, whether he thought that would be enough to allay fears about the plan.
"Against the onslaught of misinformation, disinformation and downright lies, I can't be sure," he said. "We managed to break through in my election, in a special election recently in Nevada, in Wisconsin. We tell them the truth: 'Here's how it plays out. Here's what you get if you're over 55, if you're under 55. These are the problems we have to face.' And what we're getting back is a wheelchair going off a cliff. We need a dialogue."
After all the speakers had taken a turn praising Ryan's courage, Wendy Long tried to connect the selection to her own opponent.
"And in my own race, I think Senator Gillibrand has shown herself to be a fundamentally unserious person," Long said, labeling as "a scam" the senator's jobs bill and "phony" her talk of a Republican "war on women."
"In this election we have not only a clear choice between policies, but we have a choice between somebody who is a fundamentally unserious person and someone like myself who thinks that the way to get the economy going and create jobs is to cut taxes, cut mindless regulations and let our economy flourish," she said.
Long also revealed, in response to a question, that she would disclose one year of her tax returns. She had previously called on Gillibrand to release five years of her tax returns, which Gillibrand did, and now says the senator should release returns for the years before she was elected.