Pawlenty, Gingrich Offer Views On Medicare, Entitlement Programs

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty formally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination with a pledge to reinvent programs like Medicare in order to tackle the nation's fiscal difficulties. And another GOP candidate —  Newt Gingrich — continued his efforts to explain his remarks about the Medicare overhaul plan advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The New York Times: Pawlenty Declares Candidacy And Takes On Politically Popular Programs
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota formally opened his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday and presented himself as a candidate willing to confront tough political choices, pledging to reinvent or dismantle programs like ethanol subsidies, Medicare and Social Security to address the nation's fiscal burdens (Zeleny, 5/23).

The Washington Post: Tim Pawlenty Announces Presidential Bid, Offers Himself As Alternative To Romney
In formally announcing his campaign here [Iowa], Pawlenty sought to command the space that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would have occupied had he decided to run. The former Minnesota governor cast himself as a serious candidate for serious times and presented a bold agenda to substantially scale back the role of government. Pawlenty said he would downsize or eliminate popular programs, including gradually raising the retirement age for Social Security, overhauling Medicare and phasing out ethanol subsidies — not normally a popular position in this farm-heavy state (Rucker, 5/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Pawlenty Goes On Offense
He cast himself as a truth-teller, willing to level with the American people about the sacrifices that would be needed to tame the $1.5 trillion budget deficit and get the economy rolling. So far, Mr. Pawlenty has not laid out detailed policy on some of the issues to emerge in the current budget debate. He has yet to take a firm position on the House Republican plan to replace traditional Medicare with government-subsidized private insurance for people currently younger than 55 (Weisman, 5/24).

The Washington Post: Gingrich: I'm Not A 'Washington Figure'
Gingrich spoke on the heels of a 17-city kickoff tour of Iowa that was overshadowed by his controversial remarks one week ago about the Republican plan to overhaul Medicare. On Monday, Gingrich continued his effort to explain the remarks, insisting that voters outside of Washington understood what he was trying to say. … Gingrich acknowledged that he bore some responsibility for the controversy that erupted when he called the Medicare proposal, championed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), an example of "right-wing social engineering" (Gardner, 5/23).

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