Fact checkers repeatedly have found that the Romney-Ryan ticket’s attack on Obamacare as having “robbed” Medicare of $716 billion is false and misleading.
But the candidates think they have a winning hand here or can blunt the damage caused by Democratic counterattacks on Rep. Paul Ryan’s plans to turn Medicare into a voucher system.
In his acceptance speech Wednesday night vice presidential nominee Ryan gave no ground:
You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.
Then he vowed to fight fire with fire:
Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.
So our opponents can consider themselves on notice. In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate.
Call it courage, call it chutzpah, call it recklessness. But this line of attack worked in 2010 and it might be working now, as President Obama and Democrats waited to respond.
But regardless of the political calculus, I think it would be healthy to have a real debate about Medicare and how we’re going to pay for it—or change it so we can afford it.
If that begins this time around, then this nasty, terrible election campaign will have been worth something. Talk about unintended consequences!