Numbers game

When Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate in August, Democrats couldn't wait to attack Ryan on Medicare, and Ryan couldn't wait to fight back. Everyone — myself included — said Romney's choice of Ryan signaled his intention to run a campaign of contrasts, to be bold and, yes, to be specific. But at least at this point, that isn't happening.

After an initial offensive on Medicare that led to a bump in the polls before the GOP convention, Ryan and Romney have grown quiet on Medicare and details of any of their plans are hard to come by. This weekend, Ryan was asked by Fox News’s Chris Wallace to explain how the Romney tax plan would add up and Ryan said he could not. "Well, I don't have the — it would take me too long to go through all of that. But let me say it this way: You can lower tax rates by 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have the preferences for the middle class for things like charitable deductions, for home purchases, for healthcare." When Wallace asked what if the assessments that have shown the plan to be "mathematically impossible" prove correct, Ryan said, "First of all, run the numbers. They've run them in Congress. We've got five other studies that show you can do this."

Run the numbers. That's what Ryan does. That is what he has been doing for two decades. He wrote the "Roadmap," his plan to restructure the budget in order to avoid a fiscal crisis, because he knows the numbers better than anyone; he knows them by heart. Right now, he's just not allowed to talk about them.

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