Democrats will use GOP running mate Paul Ryan’s stature as the GOP’s go-to budget guy as a rallying cry and they’ll point to paralysis on Capitol Hill – a place Ryan has spent his entire professional life – as a notch against him.
But Ryan has shown some glimmers of bipartisanship.
He has worked with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon on a more moderate long-term budget pathway.
Wyden has come under fire from some Democrats for working with Ryan.
And there is an intriguing moment from last year that ABC witnessed.
It came in May of 2011, just after a stinging defeat for Republicans in a special election in New York. Democrats had made Ryan’s budget proposals and his proposal to change Medicare for those under 55 as a centerpiece of their argument in that race.
The day after that loss in New York, ABC’s Jonathan Karl was with Ryan when he encountered none other than Bill Clinton back stage at a forum.
Clinton greeted Ryan warmly and suggested that Ryan “give me a call.”
The former Democratic president warned Ryan that the victory by Democrats could be a recipe for inaction in a Republican-controlled House.
That turned out to be an accurate prediction, but Clinton’s approach to Ryan showed how his embrace of big ideas, if not the ideas themselves, are respected among many Democrats.