Charlie Rose surprised Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday's CBS This Morning by promoting the latest smear from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Rose displayed their fake horror-movie poster with Ryan's face beside House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker John Boehner. It included the caption, "Just when you thought Medicare was safe, THEY'RE BACK. This time, they want to finish it for good."
Rose told the Wisconsin Republican, "Democrats have tried...to portray you as someone who wants to destroy Medicare, and they have a poster in which you are, in a sense, the poster boy of that. And their argument is that you will, in fact, by a voluntary system, lead to the destruction of something that seniors have come to depend on" [audio available here; video below the jump].
The CBS anchor raised the left-leaning attack during the second half of the interview. Just before turning to the poster, Rose stated that "it is still a controversial [budget] proposal, even though you have changed it a little bit. Tell me what you think the country has to do, with respect to Medicare, and how you have changed it from your previous proposal."
Ryan went on the attack against President Obama, noting, in part, that "the President's health care law...raids a half a billion dollars from Medicare to spend on his new health care law, and puts a new board of 15 bureaucrats in charge of price controlling and rationing Medicare for current seniors." The GOP congressman repeated this talking point and expanded on it after the journalist turned to the DCCC graphic:
ROSE: As you know, Democrats have tried to- and have attempted to- portray you as someone who wants to destroy Medicare, and they have a poster in which you are, in a sense, the poster boy of that. And their argument is that you will, in fact, by a voluntary system, lead to the destruction of something that seniors have come to depend on.
RYAN: The President's health care law does that already. The President's health care law puts 15 bureaucrats in charge of rationing the program, and he raids over half a trillion dollars from the program to spend on other government programs. We preserve the benefit for people in or near retirement- the President doesn't do that- but, in order to do that, you have to reform the program to save the program, and prevent it from going bankrupt. That's what we do. Scare tactics, I don't think, are going to work. The country wants to be spoken to like adults, not pandered to like children. We owe the country a choice; we owe them leadership, we think; and if you want to save Medicare and prevent it from going bankrupt, you must reform the program, and that's what we're doing.
Near the end of the segment, Rose asked about Ryan's income tax reform proposal:
ROSE: I have to get this in. There is also tax reform in this budget proposal. You want to reduce the rates to two rates- 10 percent and 25 percent.
RYAN: That's right. We think we need pro-growth economic policy. One of the key ingredients to economic growth is a tax system that works, that's competitive, that's fair. Take away the tax shelters that high income earners use, in order to lower everybody's tax rates- but you do this without hurting the deficit-
ROSE: But no alternative minimum- but no alternative minimum anymore.
RYAN: That's right. Yeah, nobody wants to have the alternative minimum. I don't know a Democrat that wants the alternative minimum tax to continue. So we say, get rid of the alternative minimum tax, because the alternative minimum tax was because people were using tax shelters- therefore, they had the alternative minimum tax. We're saying get rid of all the tax shelters, so you can lower everybody's tax rates. It's more competitive, it's fair, and it helps us grow our economy and make sure that we don't tax our successful small businesses at much higher rates than large corporations, and that's what this tax reform does.
Just over two weeks earlier, on the February 28, 2012 edition of CBS This Morning, the anchor directed a series of questions from the left at the congressman, and wondered if the recent trend towards social issues in the Republican presidential race was "troubling." Ryan replied by attacking his counterparts across the aisle and their liberal allies in the media: "It's not troubling for me, and...I think that's more about the media, and maybe the Democrats, who are trying to move it in that direction."
The full trancript of Charlie Rose's interview of Rep. Paul Ryan from Tuesday's CBS This Morning, which began five minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, is available at MRC.org.