MSNBC's Rachel Maddow appeared on Sunday's "Meet The Press" and clashed with National Review editor Rich Lowry over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.
NBC's weekly public affairs program was back on the air Sunday, after taking a short hiatus due to the network's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. The program returned one day following Romney's vice presidential announcement. The roundtable, which consisted of Maddow, Lowry, NBC's Chuck Todd, The Washington Post's Dan Balz and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, discussed the impact that Ryan will have on Romney's campaign.
"Meet the Press" host David Gregory turned to Maddow and Lowry, noting that they were both smiling in light of Romney's vice presidential pick, as Ryan's presence on the ticket gives voters a clear choice between two different visions for the country.
"Democrats think that this is the best thing that could possibly happen to their campaign," Maddow said. "It's no longer, 'Do you like the way the country is going or no? ... Now the choice is, 'Well you may not like Afghanistan or renewable energy or Solyndra or health insurance coverage for contraception or something—fine. Do you like Medicare?' Now it is a choice. It is no longer just a referendum on Obama and that's everything they wanted."
Lowry disagreed and stressed that Romney's selection of Ryan showed that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee demonstrated that he has "a good eye for talent, is bolder and more creative...and shows a real commitment to getting things done."
Lowry added that Democrats would go after Romney and Medicare regardless of Ryan's presence on the ticket. "The Republicans should go on offense on Medicare, because the president, as part of Obamacare, has $700 billion in cuts in Medicare, and Romney wants to repeal Obamacare, including those cuts," he said. "So at the top of the ticket, Romney vs. Obama, there's only one of those guys who want any cuts affecting current seniors."
Maddow interjected, highlighting that Ryan's budget plan maintains Obama's cuts to Medicare. "So which one is it, Romney or Ryan?" she asked. Lowry said that the Ryan plan does keep cuts to Medicare but insisted that Romney wants to repeal those cuts.
"Wait, but that's amazing," Maddow said, again interrupting Lowry. "We're going to have Romney vs. Ryan on Medicare. That's going to be awkward."
Maddow and Lowry got into what can only be described as a verbal traffic jam later during the discussion. As Lowry described the difference between Obama and Romney's stances on Medicare, he pointed his question directly to Maddow. "Do you support $700 billion in cuts in Medicare over the next 10 years?" he asked.
"I'm not running for president. Paul Ryan is—" Maddow said, as Lowry repeatedly asked, "Do you? Do you?"
"I'm not running for anything," Maddow pressed. "Do you? Why can't you answer it? Why can't you answer?" Lowry continued to ask.
"Paul Ryan is running for vice president" Maddow said. "See you can't answer," Lowry said. "Wait—I'm not running for anything." This dance went back and forth for almost a full minute.
Following the show, Maddow tweeted, "Very fun sparring with R Lowry on #MTP today -- would love to know if Romney camp really is making Ryan disavow his Medicare cuts."Watch the first clash in the clip above and the second disagreement in the video below:
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