By Meghashyam Mali - 08/12/12 02:14 PM EDT
Remarks begin at 1:41 mark.
Republican Sen. John Thune (S.D.) on Sunday praised GOP candidate Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan for his running mate, saying that the move would put the Obama campaign on the defensive over the economy.
The senator, who was rumored to be a vice presidential contender himself, dismissed suggestions that Ryan's controversial budget plans which Democrats have targeted would make him a risk to the Romney campaign.
Democrats intend to make Ryan’s budget which would cut $5 trillion in spending, overhaul the tax code and shift Medicare to a subsidized private insurance model a centerpiece of their campaign attacks, believing voters will reject the plan when they learn more about its details.
But Thune predicted Democratic attacks would backfire on the president.
“I think this is a bigger risk for the president, because they are going to attack the Romney or the Ryan budget as cutting Medicare, but the president is the only one in this campaign who has cut Medicare to the tune of $700 billion. So I think that there is a considerable risk for the president to have this ticket opposing them in the fall campaign."
Thune acknowledged that the campaign would face a "challenge" explaining Ryan's complex budget over Democratic attacks, but said with Ryan on the ticket Romney had chosen the best possible spokesman for the GOP's plans.
"I think part of his explaining it, and there is no better person to do that than Paul Ryan. He is the man who best understands these who best understands the budgetary implications of doing nothing as well as laying out a specific plan that will save and strengthen Medicare for the future," he said.
On Saturday, the Obama campaign launched a new Website and video hammering Ryan on the budget, claiming it would hurt seniors, students and the middle class and force cuts to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy.
Sunday, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod sought to tie Romney to the controversial Ryan plan saying both men on the GOP ticket shared “extreme” views and blasting Ryan as a “right-wing ideologue.”
Democrats are particularly focusing their attacks on Ryan’s Medicare reforms which Axelrod called a “Trojan horse” intended to bring about the “demise” of the program.
Thune on Sunday rebuffed suggestions that Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals could cost the GOP ticket states like Florida with many senior voters.
“You know they always talk about Florida, but senior citizens, people over the age of 55 are not going to be impacted by this, it's people younger than the age of 55 who would have more options and more choices and greater competition and hopefully more affordable health care in the future,” he said.