Today’s Headlines – August 13, 2012

Good morning, here are your headlines:

CBS News: “60 Minutes”: Romney, Ryan Answer Critics Of Medicare Position
Romney answered critics who say Ryan’s Medicare plan will hurt the ticket’s chances, especially in Florida. “There’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,” Romney said. … Ryan added, “My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida. Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they’ve organized their retirements around. In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms. That have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late ’90s” (Delargy, 8/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP’s Paul Ryan Has Bold Plans For Medicare And Medicaid Costs, But They’ve Proved Divisive
Republican Paul Ryan’s blueprint for Medicare could prove as polarizing in the campaign as President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul has been. Even Mitt Romney may not want to go there (8/13).

For more headlines …

USA Today: Romney, Ryan Defend Medicare Plan On ’60 Minutes’
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan defended their stance on Medicare, saying Ryan’s plan to overhaul the health insurance program for seniors won’t hurt them in Florida. … “What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors,” Romney said, according to the 60 Minutes excerpts. Romney said the plan would not make any changes for seniors currently enrolled in the government-run health insurance program. “But looking for young people down the road and saying, ‘We’re going to give you a bigger choice’ ” (Camia, 8/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Selection Sets Off Debate On Government
Until now, in a 2012 campaign bristling with negative attacks and accusations about the character of the two candidates, big policy choices have been eclipsed. That changes with the selection of Mr. Ryan, author of detailed conservative budget plans that call for major changes to many social programs, offering voters a choice: Are welfare services a safety net, or can they breed dependency? Is Medicare a social contract with the elderly, or unsustainable and in need of repair? And will cuts in government spending hurt economic growth, or foster a more robust private sector? (Hook and Paletta, 8/12).

Los Angeles Times: Romney-Ryan Ticket Gets Hero’s Welcome In Wisconsin
The reaction since the Saturday announcement underscored that Romney and his campaign are navigating a familiar path for candidates whose running mates are popular with the party base: trying to harness the enthusiasm without being utterly usurped by the newcomer. In Romney’s case, there was an added desire to create some distance from some of the more controversial positions held by Ryan, who gained notice for a budget plan that pushed Medicare toward privatization for younger Americans (Mehta, 8/13).

The Washington Post: In Key Swing State Florida, Paul Ryan A Virtual Unknown
And so, TV and radio advertising in Florida for the next three months is likely to be relentless: President Obama’s campaign will cast Ryan’s proposal as the death knell of Medicare, and Romney will cast it as the program’s only salvation. For Romney, the process launched Sunday, when he and Ryan, whose mother is on Medicare in Florida, appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and introduced Ryan’s proposal as one that will save Medicare for future generations (McCrummen, 8/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Some Seniors Worry Over Ryan Selection
The news that Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan, who has suggested changing Medicare, as his running mate sparked worries over the weekend among some residents at the Stella Maris retirement community in Miami Beach—concerns that could reverberate among seniors nationwide. Mr. Ryan has proposed overhauling Medicare and Social Security—including introducing private accounts for Social Security and giving future retirees the option to choose a privately run health insurance plan (Campo-Flores, 8/12).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: In Senior-Rich Florida, Ryan Will Discuss Medicare
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), Mitt Romney’s newly announced running mate, will head to central Florida next weekend and likely confront questions about his proposal to overhaul Medicare for future seniors (Paletta, 8/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Pick Jolts Race
Mr. Ryan has become a favorite of fiscal conservatives for his plans to rein in spending through budget cuts and changes to Medicare and other entitlement programs. The Romney campaign said enthusiasm over the pick brought in $3.5 million in online donations in the 24 hours after he was named to the ticket Saturday morning (O’Connor and Murray, 8/13).

The New York Times: The New York Times: Both Sides Focus On The Republican Ticket’s New Face
In North Carolina and at an evening rally in Wisconsin, Mr. Romney praised his running mate for conservative vision and courage. But with Mr. Ryan’s introduction to a national audience defined by his plan to reshape Medicare and slash spending for nearly all government programs outside the military — policies that Democrats have spent years using to generate opposition to Republicans — campaign aides pointedly noted that it was a Romney-Ryan ticket, not Ryan-Romney (Zeleny and Barbaro, 8/12).

The New York Times: As Ryan Looks To Focus On Economy, Spotlight Shines On His Views
In nearly 14 years as a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, Mr. Ryan has not only voted for legislation that would cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood and the Title X family planning program, but also backed bills to establish criminal penalties for certain doctors who perform the procedure known as partial-birth abortion (Pear, 8/12).

Los Angeles Times: Many See Ryan As More Wisconsin Than Washington
In Washington, Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee. His relentless drive to reduce the deficit, cut taxes and trim spending — including for entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — has turned him into an intellectual hero to some, and to others an ideologue intent on dismantling the social safety net. But to his Janesville neighbors, Ryan is a Green Bay Packers devotee, a camper and an avid bowhunter, known to rise before dawn during deer season and return at night after a day alone in the woods (Hennessey, Semuels and Mascaro, 8/12).

The Washington Post: With Paul Ryan As Romney’s VP Pick, Democrats Pounce On GOP Budget Plan
If Romney is betting that his selection of Ryan will rally his conservative base in a nip-and-tuck election, Democrats are counting on its having the same effect on their side. For months, the Obama campaign has been trying to tie Romney to Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, which the president in April called “social Darwinism” that would pit the poor against the wealthy. Ryan has proposed major cuts to spending and entitlement programs in an effort to curb the spiraling national debt (Nakamura, 8/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Targets Ryan Medicare Plan In New Video
President Barack Obama’s campaign is already targeting Paul Ryan in a new online video, just two days after the Wisconsin congressman became Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick (8/13).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fact Check: Romney-Ryan Team Debut Leaves Some Facts In The Dust, On Budget, Medicare And More
In his debut as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan promised “America’s comeback team” won’t duck tough budget issues, although the man standing next to him has kept his head low so far. Romney vowed the duo would “preserve” Medicare, an eye-popping claim considering Ryan wants to transform the program from the ground up (8/12).

The Washington Post: Liberal Wyden’s Partnership With Ryan Becomes A GOP Talking Point
In his proud pursuit of creative, if politically implausible, policy initiatives, Wyden has in the past teamed up with the likes of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the newly anointed Republican vice presidential candidate. Their collaboration on a Medicare reform proposal helped cement Wyden’s reputation as a “King of Policy Wonks,” as he is sometimes dismissively referred to within his caucus. And it also has given Republicans some cover on the campaign trail (Horowitz, 8/12).

NPR: Medicaid Fight Reinvigorated With Political Light On Health Care
The addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket is certain to elevate health care as a campaign issue this fall. Most of the debate is likely to be about Medicare, and Ryan’s controversial plan to transform the popular program for the elderly and disabled (Rovner, 8/13).

The New York Times: Ambiguity In Health Law Could Make Family Coverage Too Costly For Many
The new health care law is known as the Affordable Care Act. But Democrats in Congress and advocates for low-income people say coverage may be unaffordable for millions of Americans because of a cramped reading of the law by the administration and by the Internal Revenue Service in particular (Pear, 8/11).

Los Angeles Times: Blue Shield Top Executives’ Pay Changed Little In 2011
Nonprofit insurer Blue Shield of California said its outgoing chief executive earned $4.6 million last year, off slightly from a year earlier, as all insurance companies faced new government rules on how customer premiums are spent (Terhune, 8/11).