By Bernie Becker - 08/13/12 01:12 AM EDT
Mitt Romney made it clear Sunday: The new Republican ticket will be running on his budget framework — not the more famous vision crafted by his new running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has long praised the budgets Ryan has spearheaded as chairman of the House Budget Committee and has even said he would have signed the GOP budget into law.
But since Romney tapped Ryan on Saturday, his surrogates have repeatedly said that the presumptive GOP nominee’s own budget ideas would be at the campaign’s forefront.
“I have my budget plan as you know that I've put out. And that's the budget plan that we're going to run on,” Romney said, flanked by Ryan on his right.
Still, the Democrats who fanned out to the Sunday shows made clear that they would devote their energy to tying Romney to the Ryan budget and its partial privatization of Medicare.
Members of President Obama’s campaign team cast the new vice presidential candidate’s plan as the “Romney-Ryan” budget on Sunday, also attacking Ryan’s proposals on taxes and other spending measures.
“I think that it clarifies the choice for the American people,” David Axelrod, a top Obama campaign adviser, said about Romney’s selection on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I think it clarifies the choice in a way that is going to be helpful.”
For their part, the Romney team has stressed that they believe that, with Ryan in the fold, they will be able to run a serious campaign that discusses long-term issues regarding federal spending and entitlement programs.
But in the “60 Minutes” interview, neither Romney nor Ryan went into many specifics about their fiscal ideas. And it remains to be seen if the Romney campaign will be able to walk the fine line of fully embracing Ryan as a budget wonk without fully running on the Wisconsin Republican’s plan.
Asked about Democrats apparently being excited to run against the Ryan budget, Romney said simply, “America has a choice.”
“A very clear choice,” he added. “Are we going to continue to spend a trillion dollars more every year than we take in? And pass that burden to our children.”
As for Romney’s budget plan, it does have some differences with the framework the House passed this year.
Romney, for instance, would cut all current income tax rates by 20 percent, while Ryan and Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee want to collapse the current six income tax brackets into two.
Romney’s 59-point jobs and budget plan also says that Ryan’s Medicare plan “makes important strides in the right direction by keeping the system solvent and introducing market-based dynamics.”
Most recently Ryan has called for allowing seniors to stay on traditional Medicare while shifting some of the program’s funding into private sources.
And while Romney may have made clear Sunday that his budget would take center stage, he also suggested that a Vice President Ryan would have an outsized role in budget matters.
“I anticipate that there will be certain areas that are his areas of expertise and he has passion and concern there — that he'll actually take a lead role in helping oversee those areas,” Romney said.