The chairman of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s national steering committee on Tuesday angrily shouted for a CNN anchor to “put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead” after she tried to fact check Republican claims about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to overhaul Medicare.
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien pointed out to Romney surrogate John Sununu that the candidate’s plan would turn Medicare into a voucher system much like the budget proposal offered by his vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan.
“It’s sounds awfully like the Paul Ryan Medicare plan,” O’Brien noted after reading details from Romney’s website.
“But it’s very different,” Sununu insisted. “For example when [President Barack] Obama gutted Medicare by taking $717 billion out of it, the Romney plan does not do that. The Ryan plan mimicked part of the Obama package, the Romney plan does not. That’s a big difference.”
“I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I’ve heard it repeated over and over again,” O’Brien observed. “These numbers have been debunked, as you know, by the Congressional Budget Office. … I can tell you what it says. [Obama’s plan] cuts a reduction in the expect rate of growth, which you know, not cutting budgets to the elderly. Benefits will be improved.”
“Soledad, stop this!” Sununu shouted. “All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there.”
“I’m telling you what Factcheck.com tells you, I’m telling you what the CBO tells you, I’m telling you what CNN’s independent analysis says,” the CNN host explained.
“Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead when you do this!” the frustrated surrogate shot back.
“You know, let me tell you something,” O’Brien said. “There is independent analysis that details what this is about. … And name calling to me and somehow by you repeating a number of $716 billion, that you can make that stick when [you say] that figure is being ‘stolen’ from Medicare, that’s not true. You can’t just repeat it and make it true, sir.”
After Romney on Saturday announced that he had selected Ryan as the vice presidential nominee, a campaign memo sought to distance the presidential candidate’s plan from Ryan’s budget proposal, insisting that “as president he will be putting together his own plan.”
But on Monday, Romney refused to say where his plan differed from Ryan’s vision of turning Medicare into a voucher system.
“My plan for Medicare is very similar to his plan for Medicare,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters in Miami. “My plan, like his, really expands Medicare Advantage. It says, let’s give people more opportunity to take advantage of not just the standard Medicare, but also the [private insurance] policies that are available in the market place.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast Aug. 14, 2012.