Just minutes after Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his vice presidential choice, his campaign was working to distance itself from Ryan’s signature piece of legislation — his “Path to Prosperity” budget, which would massively overhaul Medicare, Social Security, and other social programs.
In internal talking points that are sure to disappoint conservatives, Romney’s campaign weaseled around fully embracing Ryan’s plan, writing, “Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance.”
But Mitt Romney has been a full-throttle endorser of the Ryan budget on several occasions since its launch. Here are five quotes from Romney himself, endorsing the Ryan plan:
1. “Very supportive.”“I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier. I think it’s amazing that we have a president who three and a half years in still hasn’t put a proposal out that deals with entitlements. This president’s dealing with entitlement reform — excuse me — this budget deals with entitlement reform, tax policy, which as you know is very similar to the one that I put out and efforts to reign in excessive spending. I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed.”
2.”The right tone.” Romney told Talking Points Memo, “He is setting the right tone for finally getting spending and entitlements under control. …Anyone who has read my book knows that we are on the same page.’”
3. “Marvelous.” “I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budgetand to adopt it and pass it along to the president,” Romney once professed while in Wisconsin.
Obama mocked him for this one:
4. “An important step.” “I spent a good deal of time with Congressman Ryan. When his plan came out, I applauded it, as an important step. … We’re going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed.”
5. “The same page.” In March, on a local Wisconsin radio show called the Vicki McKenna Show, Romney told the host “Paul Ryan and I have been working together over some months to talk about our mutual plans and we’re on the same page.”
The Romney campaign’s attempt to distance itself from Ryan’s budget is particularly striking, given that one of Romney’s surrogates attacked Newt Gingrich’s campaign for doing the same thing during the GOP presidential primary. Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said on a call with reporters, “Mitt Romney supports what Paul Ryan did. He endorsed what Paul Ryan did. Mitt Romney had his own package of entitlement reform, which Paul Ryan has praised. They both meshed together.”
Now that Romney is distancing himself from the proposal, it will be interesting to know which parts of Ryan’s budget he disagrees with.