Job No. 1 for both parties: define Paul Ryan

Deficit-minded budget hawk or heartless Medicare and Medicaid cutter? Right-wing zealot or honest politician who's not afraid of the tough issues?

Deficit-minded budget hawk or heartless Medicare and Medicaid cutter? Right-wing zealot or honest politician who's not afraid of the tough issues?

Both parties are working to define Paul Ryan to the millions of US voters who know little about the Wisconsin congressman just added to the GOP ticket this weekend.

Democrats believe Ryan's proposed changes to federal health programs Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security, will make him an unpopular figure among older Americans in swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

In the two days after Romney unveiled Ryan as his running mate at an event in Virginia, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina called Ryan “the architect of the radical Republican House budget.” Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod added that “Congressman Ryan is a right-wing ideologue, and that is reflected in the positions he's taken.”  

On the other hand, Romney described Ryan as “a man of tremendous character” and an “intellectual leader in the Republican Party.”

The GOP ticket also stressed on 60 Minutes on Sunday night that Ryan's budget proposal would let older voters keep their Medicare services but give younger consumers a greater range of choices.

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