Mitt Romney energized conservatives by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, making the election about big ideas about how to reduce the country’s debt and contrasting the Romney-Ryan ticket boldly with the statism represented by Obama-Biden’s.
But internal talking points circulated by Romney’s team to top GOP surrogates who will go on television to talk about Romney and Ryan suggest Romney will not embrace Ryan’s budget — known as the “Roadmap” — which passed the House.
The memo instructs surrogates to say Romney merely “applauds” the Ryan plan, and Romney will come up with his own budget plan.
CNN obtained the memo first, and the relevant part is below:
Questions and Answers About The Romney/Ryan Ticket:
1) Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?
· 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.
· Romney’s administration will go through the budget line by line and ask two questions: Can we afford it? And, if not, should we borrow money from China to pay for it?
· Mitt Romney will start with the easiest cut of all: Obamacare, a trillion-dollar entitlement we don’t want and can’t afford.
· Mitt Romney also laid out commonsense reforms that will make good on our promises to today’s seniors and save Social Security and Medicare for future generations.
There are two potential problems here. First, it threatens to dishearten conservatives whose enthusiasm for Ryan is often tied to his budget of fiscal reforms. Second, this gives the mainstream media license to distract from the bigger issues of the campaign by badgering the campaign with process questions about why Romney is not embracing the Ryan plan or what parts of the plan he disagrees with.
By choosing Ryan as his running mate, Romney is tied to the Ryan plan, so this is a curious strategy by his team of advisers, to say the least.