Within minutes of tapping Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney was distancing himself from the congressman's controversial budget, which includes steep cuts to government programs and changing Medicare into a voucher-like program.
The Romney campaign sent out talking points on Saturday that made the case that he was his own man on matters of Medicare and Social Security and that he wouldn't be tied to a document he insisted he'd sign into law and once called "marvelous."
Questions and Answers About The Romney/Ryan Ticket:
1) Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?
· Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance.
· Romney's administration will go through the budget line by line and ask two questions: Can we afford it? And, if not, should we borrow money from China to pay for it?
· Mitt Romney will start with the easiest cut of all: Obamacare, a trillion-dollar entitlement we don't want and can't afford.
· Mitt Romney also laid out commonsense reforms that will make good on our promises to today's seniors and save Social Security and Medicare for future generations.
2) Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have different views on some policy areas -- like Medicare spending, entitlement reform, labor, etc. -- do you think those differences are going to hurt or help?
· Of course they aren't going to have the same view on every issue. But they both share the view that this election is a choice about two fundamentally different paths for this country. President Obama has taken America down a path of debt and decline. Romney and Ryan believe in a path for America that leads to more jobs, less debt and smaller government. So, while you might find an issue or two where they might not agree, they are in complete agreement on the direction that they want to lead America
Distancing himself from the Ryan budget may be an act of political necessity for Romney, as the proposals -- mainly those for entitlement programs -- have proven unpopular in various congressional district races and public opinion polls.
But it won't be easy, as Romney is on record praising the Ryan budget on multiple occasions.
"I think it'd be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan's budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president," he said this March.
Elsewhere, he added: "I spent a good deal of time with Congressman Ryan. When his plan came out, I applauded it as an important step," he said. "We're going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed."
In a Fox News Sunday interview in December 2011, meanwhile, Romney was asked about the Ryan budget as if it were his own plan and responded by arguing the merits of Ryan's approach.
And as pointed out by the Obama campaign, Romney said in an interview with a Milwaukee radio station in March 2012 that he and Ryan had been working "over the last several months" in collaboration on plans "for a tax policy and spending, as well as Medicare reform." Ryan's "proposals and the ones I’ve outlined in my campaign are very much on the same page," Romney added.
Ryan, for his part, seemed to agree, telling CBS in March that Romney would enact the major parts of his budget as president.
"I'm not expecting everybody to enact every little piece of this," Ryan said. "But, yes, he -- and the other candidates running for president -- have embraced these kinds of reforms because we know it's the best way to save and strengthen the Medicare guarantee, save Medicaid."