If Barack Obama’s campaign officials were happy over the weekend about Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, they’re ecstatic now.
The Obama camp is guarding against overconfidence and still betting the U.S. presidential race will be close. But aides traveling with Obama pointed with glee to headlines from Florida, Iowa and elsewhere that lash the Republican ticket to Ryan’s plan for deep cuts in Medicare, the nation’s most popular social program after Social Security.
Some Democrats now dare to wonder if Romney’s pick for vice president could even undermine Republican control of the House of Representatives. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said for months that the Democrats can take the House; no one believed her. Although it’s still a steep challenge, Ryan’s addition to the ticket makes the climb easier.
Almost every Republican in the House voted for the Ryan plan -- twice. Last week, when Ryan was just the House Budget Committee chairman, it was difficult to make much of an issue of that. Voters didn’t know anything about Ryan or his plan. This week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is encouraging its candidates to wrap Ryan around their opponents’ necks.