News outlets are noting that Medicare is likely to be a hot topic in Thursday's debate between Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan in Kentucky.
Reuters: Pressure Is On Biden After Obama's Lackluster Debate Performance
Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is popular with conservatives for his plan to slash government spending and create a "voucher" system for the Medicare healthcare program for seniors. Democrats say that a voucher system could leave some seniors having to pay for much more of their medical costs. Ryan is an unknown quantity in a debate setting, with his only previous experience coming in a few low-profile congressional encounters in his native Wisconsin (Whitesides, 10/7).
The Washington Post: Expectations Run High For Biden-Ryan Debate
[Biden] must not only avoid making any gaffes but also try to puncture his Republican opponent’s arguments on taxes, entitlement reform and deficit reduction, something Obama was criticized for failing to do last week. ... An Obama campaign official said that like the president, Biden views the upcoming debate "as an opportunity to speak directly to the American people about what’s at stake for the middle class ... Congressman Ryan, on the other hand, has a choice to make Thursday: either stand by the extreme positions he’s been the face of for years — and that Governor Romney has fully embraced — like turning Medicare into a voucher program ... or flat-out deny their existence as Governor Romney did in last week’s debate," said the official (Sonmez, 10/6).
CNN: Stakes Get Higher In Upcoming Biden-Ryan Debate
As for Ryan, political observers note the House Budget Committee chairman will likely be targeted for his controversial budget plan, which among other things calls for major changes to Medicare. Obama campaign senior adviser Robert] Gibbs, in fact, said the vice president and president plan to be "vigorous" in their attack on the Romney-Ryan plan in the coming weeks, a plan Gibbs said consists of "the very same economic ideas that got us into this mess four years ago" (Killough, 10/7).
The Hill: Democrats Say Biden Must Make Case For Medicare In Vice Presidential Debate
Healthcare was seen as perhaps the brightest spot in Obama’s performance Wednesday night. He hit Republican challenger Mitt Romney harder on Medicare than most other issues, but still missed key opportunities ... The president did not note, for example, that Ryan preserved the exact same savings in his past two budgets, both of which passed the House with near-universal GOP support. Some Democrats want Biden to mount a defense of those cuts along the lines of former President Clinton’s line that "it takes a lot of brass to attack a guy for doing what you did" (Baker, 10/5).