08.12.12

Tim Pawlenty, John McCain, Reince Priebus, and more Sunday Talk.

Reince Priebus calls Obama a thief, David Axelrod says Romney should be ashamed of himself, and more in this week’s Sunday Talk roundup.

Reince Priebus: Obama Has ‘Blood on [His] Hands’
One week removed from calling Harry Reid a “dirty liar,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus focused his hyperbolic growl on President Obama. The president, Priebus told David Gregory on Meet the Press, “stole $700 billion out of Medicare to fund European health care.” The president has “blood on his hands,” Reibus added, just in case we didn’t understand his original point.

But wait: Gregory refused to allow Obama’s cuts to Medicare get slandered by a party now propped up by plan that hinges on dismantling Medicare, namely Paul Ryan’s budget. He stepped up and challenged Priebus, so the RNC chair sidestepped the question and went back to bashing the president.

Oh, and Scott Walker didn’t know what noodling (one of Paul Ryan’s favorite pastimes) is.

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Who Can Talk Louder? Eric Fehrnstrom vs. Stephanie Cutter
Face the Nation got out of control this week. Replacement host Nancy Cordes failed to rein in Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, so the two familiar rivals just ignored her and went after each other. Fehrnstrom accused Cutter and the Obama campaign of “garbage talk,” saying that Chicago is “running a campaign without a conscience,” and Cutter shot back that she’d “love to have a substantive debate” instead of simply mudslinging. Fehrnstrom added that if he had to give a name to the Obama campaign, it would be “fifty shades of mud.”

On the policy side, Fehrnstrom interestingly used the word “vouchers” to describe VP pick Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, a word which Ryan famously avoids.

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David Axelrod: Romney ‘Ought to be Ashamed of Himself’
David Axelrod got in a huff on Meet the Press Sunday, saying that Mitt Romney “ought to be ashamed of himself” for approving an ad that accuses the president of removing the work requirement from welfare. Axelrod was responding to criticism that pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA had released its own ad implicating Mitt Romney in the death of a woman from cancer. “He’s lecturing people on the quality of campaigns?” Axelrod yelled. He also declared the Ryan budget a “prescription for economic catastrophe,” borrowed Newt Gingrich’s phrase to accuse Ryan of “right-wing social engineering” on This Week, and added on State of the Union that President Obama thinks Ryan is a “perfectly genial and bright guy,” but “just thinks his theory is wrong.”

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Pawlenty Gave Romney ‘Several Years’ of Tax Returns
Poor Tim Pawlenty. Passed over for the bottom of the Republican ticket for the second time in two elections, the former governor of Minnesota still had the fortitude to appear on This Week Sunday.

George Stephanopoulos said he “admire[d]” Pawlenty for still coming on the show (T-Paw didn’t show up to Meet the Press), then asked him how many years of tax returns he had to supply to the Romney campaign. “Well, I don't know the exact number, George,” Pawlenty replied, smirking, “but I—you know, there were several years, I believe.” So more than two?  “I gave them a bunch of tax returns,” he continued, “I don't remember the exact number of years.”

Pawlenty also said that Ryan is a “terrific pick” and that concerns over the congressman’s lack of foreign policy experience are overblown. Ryan understands foreign policy issues “probably better than the president,” Pawlenty said.

A production note: the producers at This Week decided to indulge in some revisionist history Sunday, editing Mitt Romney’s flubbed VP announcement to have the candidate introduce Paul Ryan as the “next vice president of the United States” instead of the “next president.”

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John McCain: Ryan is an ‘Excellent Choice’
Paul Ryan represents “a new generation of leadership in our party and our nation,” John McCain told Fox News Sunday. “[He’s] an excellent choice.” But is he concerned that the No. 2 might overshadow the ticket’s No. 1? “I had that problem,” he joked, but Romney will not.  He went on to attack the current vice president, saying Joe Biden has “been wrong nine times out of 10 on every major foreign policy issue and challenge that we’ve faced.” Oh, and this is the “most negative” and “most disgraceful” campaign McCain has ever seen.

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Ed Gillespie: ‘Hope and Change’ to ‘Fear and Smear’
Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie framed this year’s election as a choice between a “substance driven campaign” (his) and “a fear and smear campaign” (theirs) on State of the Union Sunday. He went on to argue that President Obama “raided” Medicare to fund Obamacare, which raises the question: did the talking points circulated by the Romney campaign tell spokespeople to accuse Obama of “raiding” Medicare or, like Reince Priebus said on Meet the Press, “stealing” from Medicare. Either way, surprisingly, the Romney camp is displeased with the president.

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Terence Smith: Ryan Not ‘A Boring White Guy’
Paul Ryan is not “a boring white guy,” according to former PBS NewsHour media correspondent Terence Smith. He’s an exciting white guy! On Reliable Sources, Smith said that Ryan “gives news organizations a lot more to focus on” than Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman would have. “The most interesting thing about Paul Ryan is his budget plan,” Smith said, so the media are excited to look into it. (Um, please see noodling, above.)

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