So today is Paul Ryan's first Monday as Mitt Romney's number two, but instead of joining his boss's bus tour through Florida, he's been dispatched to the Iowa State Fair, where Mitt famously said that corporations are people. Don't worry, though. It has nothing to do with Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program.
Romney adviser Kevin Madden denied that the campaign was keeping Ryan out of Florida because of his proposal to privatize Medicare for people under 55; tinkering with the program for the elderly has long been toxic in Florida politics.
"This has more to do with expanding our bandwidth," he told reporters here on Sunday morning. "Gov. Romney is going to be talking about the issues that are important to Floridians."
And if you believe that, then you also believe the reason that neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney will be attending the Republican convention is that they had scheduling conflicts. But to be fair, it's not hard to understand why Romneyland is as eager to hide Ryan's plan to end Medicare as they are to hide any evidence that Bush and Cheney were Republicans. Just check out the headlines for yourself.
The weird thing is that despite the Ryan pick, Republicans have apparently concluded that Romney cannot win the White House without taking Florida.
A well-placed source said Republicans recently did an extensive regression analysis war-gaming what states are most crucial given the polling.
The single state that Romney absolutely had to have in all the various combinations: Florida.
If that's what they believe, it's hard to understand why Romney picked a guy who wants to end Medicare ... unless they actually don't think it will be a liability. The state's Republican Agriculture Commissioner, who served with Ryan in the House, seemed to express that view to Politico.
“The Ryan pick certainly energizes both sides and that means in Florida the Romney campaign will need to be very clear about [what his] budget reform means — and doesn’t mean — for seniors,” said Florida Agricultural Commissioner and former Ryan House colleague Adam Putnam. “Fortunately, nobody is better at explaining these issues than Paul.”
But if Romneyland really believes "nobody is better" than Ryan at spinning his Medicare plan, then why isn't he in Florida today with Romney? Why are they waiting to send him to the state until next Saturday, when his appearance will not get nearly as much attention as it would have today? I mean if Paul Ryan's plan is so great, and Paul Ryan is so great at explaining it ... why not let him explain it?
The question pretty much answers itself.