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GOP Presidential Hopeful Rick Santorum Endorses Plan To End Medicare, Calls For Quicker Implementation

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"GOP Presidential Hopeful Rick Santorum Endorses Plan To End Medicare, Calls For Quicker Implementation"

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ThinkProgress filed this report from the AFP Presidential Summit in Manchester, NH.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Republican presidential aspirant Rick Santorum endorsed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to end Medicare and extend tax breaks for the wealthy. The former Pennsylvania senator praised “what he wants to do with Medicare [and] Medicaid,” but also called for Ryan’s budget to be implemented “sooner than what he’s suggesting”:

KEYES: The Ryan budget plan. If you were president, would you sign that?

SANTORUM: Yeah, I support the Ryan budget plan. I think it’s the right direction on the major points. I can’t say I’ve read all of it, but on the major thrust of what he’s doing, I support what he wants to do with Medicare, Medicaid. The only thing I would do, frankly, as I’ve said publicly many times, I think we should implement a lot of these things sooner than what he’s suggesting.

Watch it:

Last month, House Republicans voted in near-lockstep for the Ryan budget. When Congress went on recess soon thereafter, the constituent backlash was immediate. Many Republican congressmen from across the country encountered constituents who were infuriated that their congressman voted to end Medicare, preserve tax breaks for the wealthy, and protect subsidies for oil companies.

As a result, some of the Republican presidential candidates have been hesitant to endorse Ryan’s unpopular budget plan, though a few tend to hedge their bets by calling the plan “courageous” and praising Ryan’s “leadership.

Still, some candidates like Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain have embraced the Republican plan to end Medicare. It remains to be seen whether this appeal to the fringe right will pay dividends; right now, polling shows 73 percent of Republicans oppose cuts to Medicare.

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