Today’s Headlines – August 28, 2012

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about new polling insights regarding the presidential campaign and Medicare, as well as what might become of the House of Representatives.

Los Angeles Times: Poll Watch: Tight Presidential Race In Both Convention States
As Republicans prepare to get their storm-delayed convention underway in Florida, a new poll shows President Obama clinging to a narrow lead in the state. … Despite speculation that the debate over Medicare might scare seniors away from the Republican ticket, those over 65 continue to be Romney’s greatest source of support in both states. The polls showed him leading among seniors by six points in Florida and five points in North Carolina. In both states, Obama led among voters younger than 50 (Lauter, 8/27).

The New York Times’ The Caucus: Boehner Sees GOP Victory , But Not Necessarily A Mandate On Medicare
At a lunch with reporters, Mr. Boehner said that the nation’s dire fiscal position, driven by health care spending, would confront Washington next year “regardless of who wins the election.” But he was cautious about predicting a mandate for the House Republican plan to end the government guarantee for Medicare, replacing the program with fixed contributions that older Americans would use to buy private health insurance or pay into the government plan (Weisman, 8/27).

For more headlines …

Los Angeles Times: Boehner: GOP Will Keep The House, Wants One-Page Party Platform
Trying to shift the nation’s political attention back to the GOP’s preferred battleground — jobs and the economy — House Speaker John A. Boehner said Republicans will retain, if not expand, their hold on the House. Boehner’s bullish outlook comes as Democrats are attacking rank-and-file lawmakers for their votes to overhaul Medicare under Paul Ryan’s plan and linking them to colleague Todd Akin’s remarks that pregnancy rarely results from “legitimate rape” (Mascaro, 8/27).

The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog: The Republican Plan To Overhaul Health Care
The 2008 Republican party platform on Medicare and Medicaid was pretty vanilla. It called for minor tweaks to the program that just about any health wonk could get behind, things like better coordination between doctors and more vigilance against fraud. The whole section came in at about 200 words. Politico has obtained a draft of the 2012 proposal and, for health care, four years has meant a sea change. The Republican party now throws its weight behind a complete restructuring of both entitlement programs (Kliff, 8/27).

The Wall Street Journal: The Right Unites Behind Romney
Conservatives have cheered the official Republican Party platform, but Democrats are trying to use it to paint Mr. Romney as out-of-step with the rest of the country. The Romney campaign has given conservatives occasional reasons to panic. A senior adviser told CNN during the primaries that Mr. Romney would “hit the reset button” once he locked up the nomination, famously comparing the general-election fight to an Etch a Sketch. … This past weekend, Mr. Romney cited the health-care law he signed as Massachusetts governor as an example of his support for women’s health-care issues. Conservatives dislike the law because it requires individuals to secure health insurance, like the federal law that Mr. Obama signed in 2010. … Yet there’s plenty for conservatives to like in the platform Republicans are expected to release this week, a kind of formal mission statement for the party (O’Connor, 8/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan ‘Roadmap’ Blazed Rocky Trail To Prominence
The initial version of his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” in summer 2008, was treated as an afterthought by party leaders, and some were openly hostile. Fearful of political backlash, just eight Republicans signed up for his conservative wish list: rewrite the tax code, scrap employer-based health care, rework Medicare and Social Security. Today, many of Mr. Ryan’s ideas have become the de facto Republican Party platform (O’Connor, 8/27).

Politico: NRCC: No More Dem Medicare Ads
If Republicans are right, Democrats are going to stop the Medicare ad war within two weeks. That was the prediction National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Guy Harrison made Monday at a briefing with reporters at the Republican National Convention (Haberkorn, 8/27).

Los Angeles Times: Hooters, Barroom Brawls And Road Rage In Florida U.S. Senate Race
With control of the U.S. Senate up for grabs in the November election, you’d think that big issues like the country’s massive fiscal problems would be center stage in the relative handful of contests that will decide whether Republicans take away the Democrats’ majority. Of course, you’d probably be wrong. True, the issue of Medicare is a growing focus of attention in campaigns, from the presidential race on down. That’s been the case all year in the hotly contested Senate race in Florida, home to the nation’s largest proportion of seniors (though both sides are mainly using “Mediscare” tactics to try to influence voters). But with incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson trying to fight off a challenge from Republican Rep. Connie Mack IV, the race has grown extremely personal (West, 8/27).

Los Angeles Times: Shareholders Urge WellPoint To Oust CEO Angela Braly
Investors in health insurance giant WellPoint Inc., which runs Anthem Blue Cross in California, are pressing for a change in top management as criticism intensifies about the company’s lagging stock, managerial missteps and disappointing earnings (Terhune, 8/28).

The Washington Post: Some Texas Counties Want Medicaid Dollars
This is not shaping up as a dream week for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Monday morning headlines state the obvious: He won’t be playing a major role at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Meanwhile back home, there’s a small-scale mutiny afoot as some larger counties are openly resisting Perry’s pushback against President Obama’s plan to expand Medicaid as part of health care reform (Stahl, 8/27).