RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Democrats have leveled some pretty serious charges against Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney when it comes to Medicare. They have called their attacks on Barack Obama's plan "lies."
NBC12 took those charges directly to Paul Ryan and he did not back down. It is the Romney/Ryan campaign's most frequent and devastating attack on Obama.
"Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare," claims a narrator in a recent Romney ad.
It is a charge that has been repeatedly called into question by fact checkers and independent experts, in part because it's not a "cut" at all, which Ryan conceded.
"Is it appropriate to call it a "cut"?" NBC12 political reporter Ryan Nobles asked. "Isn't it a reduction in the growth of spending and isn't that something you've called for yourself?"
"Sure, sure," Ryan said. "It is a reduction in growth in spending in a way that according to Medicare itself 43% of Medicare advantage seniors would lose their plans."
Before Ryan became a vice-presidential candidate, he was a House budget architect and drew up a controversial budget that called for similar growth reductions to Medicare. A fact Democrats like Rep. Bobby Scott (R-Newport News) often point out.
"Paul Ryan's budget included $700 billion in cuts to Medicare," said Scott.
Ryan says it's not hypocritical for him to criticize a similar reduction plan, because the way they plan to implement their Medicare reform makes more sense.
"We should not compromise the benefits for current seniors, unless you want to use it to pay for Obamacare, which we don't," he said.
Scott counters that the slow implementation of the Republican plan is an indicator that it won't work.
"The first thing that ought to occur to people is, what are you being protected from?" he said.
Ryan argues that it is the Obama health care reform plan that won't work, not their gradual reform of Medicare.
"What you need to do is save it for your generation, my generation," he said. "By putting those reforms in place so we can better guarantee the promise of Medicare as it is known today."
But those reforms are something Democrats, like Mayor Dwight Jones (D- Richmond) fear.
"It seems to me that it appears to be an workable solution an unworkable strategy," said Jones.
You can see our complete interview with Rep. Paul Ryan, uncut on Decision Virginia.