Game On: Let The Ideological Battle Begin

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )


  • A FIGHT VOTERS DON'T WANT: ABC News Political Director Amy Walter takes a closer look at Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate: "In picking Rep. Paul Ryan, whose eponymous budget plan has become synonymous with political polarization, Mitt Romney assured an ideological campaign where a debate over the role of government will be front and center. It is a debate the Obama campaign and partisans on both sides are also eager to have. But it's not a debate that swing voters want. They aren't as interested in choosing whether government should be more active or less. They are more interested in simply having it work." More from Walter's analysis:
  • GUESS WHO'S NOT SPEAKING AT THE CONVENTION: Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin provided this statement to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren: "Everything I said at the 2008 convention about then-candidate Obama still stands today … This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I'm excited to hear them. As I've repeatedly said, I support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in their efforts to replace President Obama at the ballot box, and I intend to focus on grassroots efforts to rally Independents and the GOP base to elect Senate and House members …"
  • OBAMA, RYAN SET FOR FIRST CAMPAIGN CLASH: ABC's Devin Dwyer reports from Chicago that the president and Paul Ryan will both be in the Hawkeye State today: Obama embarks on a bus tour from Council Bluffs, in the western part of the state, cutting across the drought-stricken farmland over three-days to hit seven stops along the way. … Ryan, fresh off his debut as vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney, will "drop by" the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on his first solo day of stumping for the GOP ticket.
  • JUST IN FROM BOSTON: ROMNEY CAMP DOUBLES DOWN: Mitt Romney's campaign is still making its dubious claim President Obama has gutted 1996 welfare reforms, notes ABC's Chris Good. In a new TV ad released Sunday, a narrator once again purports that Obama "quietly ended work requirements for welfare-you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job." The new ad uses historical video of Obama opposing the 1996 reforms, but it perpetuates a gross exaggeration that leeway for states-which could propose new and different work requirements, possibly replacing job-training quotas with different metrics-amounts to the end of work requirements nationwide.


Newly-minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan Got an official "welcome to the race" from President Obama yesterday.

"My opponent chose his running mate, the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress, Mr. Paul Ryan," Obama said at a fundraiser in Chicago yesterday. "I want to congratulate Congressman Ryan. I know him; I welcome him to the race."

And, the president added, "Congressman Ryan is a decent man. He is a family man. He's an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney's vision - but it's a vision that I fundamentally disagree with."

And with that, the ideological debate begins

The Obama campaign is up this morning with new web video in Florida - where Mitt Romney campaigns today - featuring seniors talking about the consequences of a Romney-Ryan ticket.

"Medicare is a boon to senior citizens," one white-haired Florida woman says. "And without that we choose between food and going to a doctor."

Meanwhile. the Romney campaign is doubling down on the argument that President Obama has dismantled welfare reform with new ad that attacks the president for his "long history of opposing work for welfare." WATCH:

As for how Ryan might change the electoral landscape - Wisconsin may now be in play, but he question remains: Will Ryan's choice make winning in places like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Iowa that much harder?

It's not just seniors that Team Obama will target, but working class white voters who are very sensitive to these government programs.

Team Romney, however, is playing offense too. In an email to reporters last night, Ryan's new communications director, Brendan Buck, alerted the press corps to an event Ryan will be doing in central Florida next weekend.

Far from ducking the state, Buck notes, Ryan will "highlight President Obama's record of slashing Medicare for current Florida seniors to fund Obamacare. He will also note that the Romney-Ryan ticket is the only one with a bi-partisan plan to strengthen Medicare for today and tomorrow's seniors."

THE BATTLE FOR IOWA: President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan are both there today. Ryan visits the Iowa State Fair - where just a year ago Romney uttered the infamous "corporations are people" line. A reminder of how each and every utterance from the Budget Chairman will take on a whole different level of scrutiny now that he is the GOP running mate. How will he perform?

OBAMA CUTS A PATH THROUGH THE HAWKEYE STATE: From the Obama campaign: "On Monday, August 13, President Obama will kick-off a three-day bus tour across Iowa with grassroots events in Council Bluffs and Boone, Iowa. The President will discuss the choice in this election between two fundamentally different visions of how to create an economy built to last and restore middle-class economic security. .. On Tuesday August 14, President Obama will continue his three day bus tour through Iowa with grassroots events in Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Waterloo. … On Wednesday, August 15, President Obama will end his three day bus tour through Iowa with grassroots events in Dubuque and Davenport. First Lady Michelle Obama will be joining the President at both grassroots events."


ABC's RICK KLEIN: That was the easy part. Introducing a running mate can happen on a campaign's own terms - all the secrecy on the front end, and media interest in the immediate aftermath, assures that. But the Romney-Ryan campaign's challenge will be to extend the glow longer than recent campaigns have had to, with two full weeks to fill before Tampa. And even that's not enough, of course; ask McCain-Palin vets whether a gangbusters convention is enough. Democrats have been honing the Ryan assault since long before they thought Ryan could earn a spot on the ticket, so Republicans' challenge will be to tell the Ryan story in a more compelling fashion - and slowly.


AXELROD: PICKING RYAN MEANT TO 'THRILL THE MOST STRIDENT VOICES' IN GOP. Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod, to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week": "[Paul Ryan] constructed a budget that, like Romney, would lavish trillions of dollars of tax cuts, most of them on the wealthy, would raise the burden on the middle class, would cut back things deeply like student loans, and research and development, and things we need to grow the economy. … It is a pick that is meant to thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party, but it's one that should trouble everybody else, the middle class, seniors, students, because of Ryan's record."

PAWLENTY PRAISES PICK, NOT DISAPPOINTED. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, a Veepstakes finalist, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "You know, I'm excited for the ticket. I'm excited for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. I didn't support Governor Romney because I expected to be vice president, so I'm not disappointed. I didn't get something I didn't expect, but it's a great ticket, it's a terrific pick by Governor Romney, and Congressman Ryan, as you've already seen, is bringing energy to the ticket, and he's got a clear, specific vision, an adult approach to solving the nation's problems, and you don't see that from the president and his team."


SWING-STATE HEADLINES: RYAN IS A BOLD CHOICE. From Yahoo! News' Dylan Stableford, a look at front pages reveals the kind of coverage Ryan will see during the campaign, and swing-state headlines on Sunday cast Ryan's selection as a bold move by Romney that will refocus the race on budgets. From Stableford: "'In Ohio, 'Romney's choice of Ryan seen as bold move with appeal to the right,' the Cleveland Plain Dealer said. 'Ryan Shakes Up the Race,' the Virginian-Pilot said on its front page. 'Ryan reshapes campaign,' the Denver Post declared. 'Ryan is idolized by young conservatives, and he brings specific-and controversial-fiscal formulas to the ticket.'


Colorado: The Denver Post, "Ryan Reshapes Campaign"; The Gazette (Colorado Springs), "Ryan's Budget Plan Is in Spotlight .. His Selection Will Frame Debate of Philosophies"

Florida: Orlando Sentinel, "Romney's VP Pick Known as Bulldog on Budget Issues," syndicated from LA Times; Miami Herald, "Ryan Could Hurt Romney in Florida"; Tampa Bay Times, "Fiscal Attraction"

Iowa: The Des Moines Register, "VP Pick Could Play Well in Iowa"; Cedar Rapids Gazette, "In Picking Ryan, Romney Goes Bold"

New Hampshire: Boston Globe, "Romney Taps Ryan, Shakes Up Race … Wisconsin Congressman Brings Energy, Intellect to Ticket, but Also New Targets"; Sunday News, "NH Pols React to Romney Pick for GOP Ticket … Once considered potential running mate herself, Sen. Kelly Ayotte says Ryan is a 'fantastic choice'"

Nevada: Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Analysis: Romney Pick Ties Him to Ryan Budget"; Reno Gazette-Journal, "Ryan Pick Causes Stir in Nevada … Romney's Running Mate Gives Voters Clear Choice, Political Players Agree"

North Carolina: Charlotte Observer, "Ryan Pick Sets Up Ideological Battle … Romney Chooses 7-Term Congressman Who Energizes GOP's Conservative Base"; Raleigh News & Observer, "Republican Ticket Sets Up Battle Between Two Visions," "Ryan Hit Stride in Wake of GOP Defeat"; Durham Herald Sun,

Ohio: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Romney's Choice of Ryan Seen as Bold Move With Appeal to the Right"; The Cincinnati Enquirer, "Why Paul Ryan? … After Weighing Many Suitors, Mitt Romney Taps Into GOP's Favorite Deficit Warrior as His Running Mate … Selection Refocuses Race on the Economy … Four Years at Miami Shaped His Philosophy"; The Columbus Dispatch, "Dispatch Analysis: Bold VP Pick Changes Conversation"; The Toledo Blade, "GOP Running Mates Voice Pledge to Lead"

Virginia: Washington Post, "Romney Picks a Path … Paul Ryan Gets VP Nod … GOP Budget Architect … Running-Mate Risk?"; Richmond Times-Dispatch, " The Virginian-Pilot, "Romney Picks Ryan, Shakes Up the Race"

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Romney Picks Ryan … Choice Helps Define Campaign, and Election"; Wisconsin State Journal (Madison), "Romney, Ryan Off to the Races .. VP Pick Signifies Battle Over Budget," "Hometown Braces for Fame"


With ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)

PAGING SPEAKER BOEHNER: RYAN CHOKES UP AT VP HOMECOMING. ABC's Jonathan Karl, Arlette Saenz, and Emily Friedman report from Waukesha, Wis.: With thousands cheering him during his first stop in his native Wisconsin as a vice presidential candidate, Ryan seemed to be choking back tears as he relayed his affection for his home state. … "My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, and a little Spotted Cow and some Miller," Ryan said to cheers from the crowd. "I was raised on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers."

ROMNEY, RYAN DEFEND CHANGING MEDICARE. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan sat for their debut interview as running mates on '60 Minutes' with CBS's Bob Schieffer, who asked them about Ryan's proposed Medicare overhaul. ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports: "My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida," the Wisconsin Republican says in an excerpt released Sunday afternoon. "Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they've organized their retirements around. In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms. That have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late '90s."

RYAN ON '60 MINUTES': HOW TO FIX WASHINGTON. More from the '60 Minutes' interview, Ryan on how Capitol Hill has changed in recent years: "I've seen it since I've been in Congress for 14 years. It starts, in my opinion, with a fundamental lack of leadership. President Obama has not provided the kind of leadership we need to bring people together. The Senate hasn't passed a budget for three years, even though we have a budget law that says you have to pass a budget every year. So it's dysfunctional. What we want to do-and we think we've done this in the House-is we're planting the seeds for bipartisan compromises on the big issues of the day. It could be realized next year if we can get things done."

ROMNEY ON '60 MINUTES': WHAT RYAN ADDS. Schieffer asked Mitt Romney whether he might be able to learn from Ryan's budget expertise. Romney: "I can't imagine you'd have two people that-couldn't learn from one another. And obviously his experience on the hill and working with-with a wide array of issues is something which will-in fact already has been an input to my campaign and will be going forward. I- well, I expect to-to work with him. … This is a man who's dedicated the last 14 years working in Washington in ways that are not highly partisan or political, but instead are focused on what he thinks-the right course-is for America. And that's the kind of person I want. This is a man who's also very analytical. He's a policy guy."

FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS FROM WSJ. The Wall Street Journal's Kristina Peterson notes that there are a few unanswered questions, after the debut interview. Such as: "Just whose plans will the GOP ticket run on? Since Mr. Romney tapped Mr. Ryan as his running mate, the focus has quickly shifted to the younger lawmaker's controversial proposals, which have galvanized conservatives. But it's not clear to what extent Mr. Ryan's ideas will be endorsed by his new partner. In an excerpt of the interview Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan defended the concept of overhauling Medicare, but Mr. Romney brushed off the idea that the election could become a referendum on Mr. Ryan's proposals. 'I have my budget plan as you know that I've-I've put out. And- that's the budget plan that we're going to run on,' he said."

ROMNEY-RYAN: CHASING THE YOUTH VOTE? USA Today's Chuck Raasch and Jackie Kucinich write: "At 42, Paul Ryan is the first national candidate clearly on the GenX side of the generational line, closer in age to teen Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas than he is to 69-year-old Joe Biden, the man Ryan wants to replace as vice president. Republican candidate Mitt Romney's choice of the Wisconsin congressman as his running mate complicates for both parties a cross-generational argument that has largely been swinging between 20-something Millennials and seniors older than 65."

HAPPENING TODAY: ISSA TO SUE HOLDER. ABC's John Parkinson confirms that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa plans to sue Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday over documents related to "Fast and Furious," the gun program that Issa's committee has been investigating. Parkinson reports: The suit is expected to be filed in DC federal district court. This comes after the House took a partisan vote June 28 to hold Holder in contempt of Congress and authorized the Oversight committee to file a suit.

OBAMA: I'M NOT USAIN BOLT. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports from Chicago: President Obama exhorted a group of loyal supporters huddled in the front yard of his Hyde Park home to adopt the Olympic spirit and sprint to the finish in this highly-competitive U.S. presidential race. "I just want to remind you this is not going to be a race like Usain Bolt where we're like 40 yards ahead and we can just start jogging 10 feet before the finish line," Obama said of the Jamaican gold medalist known as the fastest man in the world. "We're going to have to run through the tape."

OLYMPICS WRAP: OBAMA CONGRATULATES CAMERON. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: Two weeks after Mitt Romney questioned whether London was prepared for the Games, prompting a public rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama called the Briticsh leader on Sunday to praise him for an "extremely successful" event, the White House announced.

BIG CROWDS GREET ROMNEY/RYAN IN NC. ABC's Emily Friedman reports that large crowds greeted Mitt Romney and his new running mate for rallies in Mooresville and High Point, N.C. on Sunday. The campaign claimed 3,000 attendants at the first event and 8,500 at the second, spilling outside the event.

VIDEO: RYAN STUMPS IN N.C. The Romney campaign sends video of its new VP candidate on the stump in Mooresville, N.C. on Sunday. Ryan says: "We can either stay on the current path that we are on, a nation in debt, a nation in doubt, a nation in despair, a nation with high unemployment, where we are giving our children a diminished future or we can change this thing and get this country back on the right track. … We know what we believe in. We know the principles that built this country and we are going to reapply those principles and get this country back on the right track and leave our kids a better future."

RYAN'S RISE. How did Paul Ryan become the GOP's resident budget wiz? The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza took a look: "As much as he relished the battle against Obama … his real fight was for the ideological identity of the Republican Party, and with colleagues who were content to simply criticize the White House. 'If you're going to criticize, then you should propose,' he told me. A fault line divided the older and more cautious Republican leaders from the younger, more ideological members. Ryan was, and remains, the leader of the attack-and-propose faction. 'I think you're obligated to do that,' he said.

SPOTTED IN WISCONSIN: HERMAN CAIN. ABC News' Emily Friedman confirms that former GOP presidential co-front-runner Herman Cain was in Wisconsin Sunday campaigning with Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson. CNN reported that Cain attended a Romney-Ryan rally on Sunday.

WISCONSIN PRIMARY: RYAN-PLAN LOVE-FEST. On Tuesday, we'll get our first look at how Paul Ryan's budget plays in a down-ticket race … sort of. In Wisconsin, three Republican Senate candidates-former governor and Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, businessman Eric Hovde, and former congressman Mark Neumann-wil vie for the opportunity to run against Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November. All three have praised Ryan's budget plan. Polling has shown Thompson in the lead, and he has forcefully promised to pass the Ryan budget in the U.S. Senate.


-OBAMA SPIN: RYAN'S BUDGET. Obama for American released a research memo on Paul Ryan's proposed budget and Medicare plan, detailing its cuts to health benefits. Statement from Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith: "Not only does Mitt Romney want to get rid of these new benefits when he repeals the health care law, but the Romney-Ryan budget would actually end Medicare as we know it by pushing seniors into the private market and raising their health care costs by thousands of dollars per year. And they do it all to pay for massive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires - the very same top-down economic scheme that crashed our economy and devastated the middle class in the first place. If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to have a "substantive" debate over who is the better defender of Medicare, we are ready to have it. But, let's do it honestly."

-RAISING OFF RYAN: According to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee: "Since Romney announced that Paul Ryan would be his running mate, over $75,000 from nearly 3,300 individual donations has flooded into the campaign of Rob Zerban - the progressive Democrat who is also facing Ryan in Wisconsin's First District in November. "With Paul Ryan set to ignore voters back home, and Rob Zerban running a strong campaign against Ryan's plan to end Medicare, this is a golden opportunity for a progressive upset in Wisconsin. That's why thousands of grassroots donations have flooded in to Rob Zerban's campaign from across the nation through in the last 48 hours," said Adam Green, co-founder of the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

-FAITH GROUP COUNTER-PROGRAMS HEALTH MANDATE: A release from Conscience Cause, a grassroots organization comprised of leaders of various faiths dedicated, notes that the group is launching a Spanish language website today pushing back on the health care reform mandate. "Millions of Hispanics in the United States who are devout Catholics or Evangelicals are concerned about the assault on our religious freedom," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a Conscience Cause board member and President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. "This mandate sets a dangerous precedent for people of all faiths who object to government regulations dictating that religious institutions businesses, organizations and religious pay for services that violate their faith." Here's the site:


@jimrutenberg : Ryan's roots: From actual sausage making 2 the budgetary kind, Ryan's individualist ideology born of Janesville,Wi…

@evale72 : What Romney and Bain did to middle class families and companies Romney & Ryan want to do to all Americans with their plan to end Medicare.

feliciasonmez : The Post's intrepid @edatpost is kicking off a campaign-trail road trip this week - 5 congressional races in 5 days!

@daveweigel : What Paul Ryan's admiration for one Ayn Rand character tells us about his view of the Fed.

@PhilipRucker : Your St. Augustine #campaignfashionreport, a Romniac who says "Paul Ryan is fabulous, darling."


-President Obama kicks-off a three day bus tour in Iowa with stops in Council Bluffs and Boone.

-Vice President Biden will hold a campaign event in Durham, North Carolina and Michelle Obama will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

-Mitt Romney is on day three of his own bus tour spending the day campaigning in Florida with events in St. Augustine and Miami. Florida Senator Marco Rubio will attend both Romney events.

-Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, heads out to campaign on his own today in Des Moines, IA stopping by the Iowa State Fair. Later in the day, Ryan heads to Denver to hold his first fundraiser for the campaign.

ABC's Josh Haskell ( @HaskellBuzz)

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