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The budget rematch


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12 05:00 AM ET

The bell for Round Two of the fight between President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is about to r

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, was bloodied in the first round after his proposal to revamp Medicare became a campaign poster for Democrats.

Obama, who skirted major proposals to reform Medicare and Social Security in his own budget last year, invited Ryan to a speech and then ripped him from the stage, saying the proposal would “end Medicare as we know it.”


Ryan’s plan soon became a campaign theme that Democrats credited with handing them a special election victory in upstate New York.

One year later, Ryan is showing he can adjust after taking a punch, which would be a good thing, as the president is going to present his fiscal 2013 budget next Monday.

The Wisconsin Republican has partnered with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) on a new proposal that could inoculate Republicans from last year’s political hits.

Instead of replacing Medicare with a program offering seniors subsidies to buy private health insurance, his new proposal preserves traditional Medicare as a choice.

Ryan isn’t saying whether the proposal will definitely be a part of his new budget, but in an interview with The Hill he suggested it, saying it might be the best way after the election to foster a bipartisan compromise to revamp Medicare.

“The whole point is not that we are going to pass a law in 2012,” Ryan said. “Ron and I wanted to try to plant the seeds for a bipartisan solution.”

Ryan is also approaching this year’s budget battle with a different mindset.


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