Below are some of the notable comments made Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Guests included former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod ABC News’ Cokie Roberts, former Vermont Governor and founder of Democracy for America Howard Dean, Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, host of Current TV’s “The Gavin Newsom Show,” and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.
AXELROD: 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. I mean, he is a right-wing ideologue, the intellectual energy behind the Republican caucus there in Congress.
AXELROD: The difference is the president is trying to strengthen the Medicare program. Congressman Ryan is an ideologue, who doesn’t believe in the Medicare program. Wanted to do away with it. Newt Gingrich called it right-wing social engineering when he surfaced his Medicare plan, and he was right about that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Any comfort to know that both the president and his senior adviser, David Axelrod, thought you would be the pick?
PAWLENTY: I told David off-air, I said I was reminded of the old phrase, “Get off my side,” because I don’t think that helped, but it was a nice set of comments that he made.
PAWLENTY: Unlike the president, they are actually willing to lead, they’re actually willing to put meat on the bones, and put specific proposals on the table, and I think the American public will respect and appreciate that.
PAWLENTY: On this issue of ads back and forth, the president of the United States should have the basic decency and his campaign leadership should have the basic decency to step forward in the wake of these ads accusing Mitt Romney of essentially being a co-conspirator and killing this gentleman’s spouse and say, you know what, that ad is out of bounds. And they refuse to even have that minimal level of decency in this discourse.
PAWLENTY: There were several years, I believe. Well, we don’t get into the details of the vetting process, but I gave them a bunch of tax returns. I don’t remember the exact number of years.
ROBERTS: It is a bold choice, but bold is not necessarily wise. And it will be interesting to see if he can get away from the Ryan budget, which has been a boogeyman. And I think that the Obama campaign has already come out with an ad immediately attacking the Ryan budget as something that — it hurts the poor.
ROBERTS: Oh, [the campaigns] could care less. They’ve absolutely have decided that it’s clear that they’re just going to run with it, and the fact-checkers, you know, can have a ball, but who cares? And that’s what the companies are doing, and then, of course, Ryan gives more opportunity to do that. But I do think that this whole sense that Governor Dean talked about, that — that — do people really believe that Romney is going to be good for them? That’s going to be something that’s going to be very, very hard to get passed in these ads…
DEAN: You can’t convince people that a Democrat’s going to cut Medicare. They don’t believe that. It’s the same problem Mitt Romney has with all his Swiss bank accounts and his Cayman Islands. People just don’t think Mitt Romney cares about ordinary people. They just don’t believe he does. And I don’t think the addition of Paul Ryan is going to help that any. That’s the problem. That’s the core problem. People vote on whether you care — this candidate cares about people like me, and I don’t think this is going to change that very much in the Republican side.
DEAN: I always have told people campaigns are not for educating. You do not educate — people who use campaigns as a means of educating lose the campaign. Now, they may go on to win a bigger race later on, but campaigns are not made for educating. And Ryan has to educate the country, and I don’t think that’s possible.
GIGOT: A lot of these numbers that they’re using, the Tax Policy Center study, for example, is based on false assumptions, utterly false assumptions, to invent the idea that somehow taxes are going to go up on the middle class.
GIGOT: The country is actually in this very serious time of anxiety and real sense of American decline. What Romney is doing is saying we want to make this about bigger ideas and the direction of the country and a philosophical… Well, I think he has to talk about specifics. He has to talk about the nature of his tax plan. He has to talk about what he’s going to do on specific policy areas and say, this is how it’s going to affect you. And if he can do that, I think that’s what — one of the things the convention is for.
NOONAN: It’s good to remember that the Republicans won in 2010 rather overwhelmingly, and part of the reason they won in the congressional races was that the American people have really become concerned about the future of their country when they think about the endless, hemorrhagic spending that is going on from Washington.
NOONAN: With Ryan, one thing — I’m thinking the Democrats are saying, “Kill this guy quick. Don’t let him make a good impression over the next few minutes or week. We’ve got to get him now.” That means they are going to demagogue and Mediscare.
NEWSOM: Now we have a choice, and it’s no longer referendum, and I think that was ultimately the decision, not just a tactical decision, but a substantive shift in the campaign strategy for Romney, acknowledgement that things were not going well in the trajectory of the campaign.
NEWSOM: Look, this has been a negative campaign. All campaigns are negative. We always get outraged of the other side’s political tactics. It’s hardly a news story that this campaign’s been going in that direction. Just tell the facts. The facts should scare the heck out of folks.