Policy differences over Medicare, and the growing negative tone in the presidential campaigns were front and center on today’s “State of the Union.” Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, speaking to CNN’s National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta, said he wasn’t concerned that seniors might be turned off by the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan. “If you look at the last few days of the campaign, you will see that Paul Ryan was down in Florida as you mentioned with his mother talking about the Romney/Ryan plan to strengthen and protect Medicare,” said Fehrnstrom.
Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, maintained there is no need for Vice President Biden to apologize over remarks he made Tuesday that Mitt Romney's policies would "put y'all back in chains." “I think it is a distraction,” Cutter said. “I think the word distracted from the larger point, and the point is that Wall Street shouldn't be unshackled. Wall Street shouldn't be deregulated.” Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum accused Biden of “play[ing] the race card.”
Jim Acosta filled in for Candy today. She’ll be back next week from Tampa.
Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) on the negative campaign
“It's one thing to go out and attack Governor Romney's record. Fair game, go for it. But to go out and do what he's doing as far as dividing this country, and he is. And it's class warfare at its worst, and then you saw Vice President Biden, you know, play the race card in Virginia. ACOSTA: Did he play the race card? SANTORUM: There's no - y'all? I mean, y'all is y'all. And when you are in a group, I have been in groups like that, and you know, it is very easy when you are in a group of people that, you know, when you are in a south or in up in different areas of the country and different groups of people, and you develop an affinity with the group that you are speaking in front of, that is what president - Vice President Obama was doing. He was trying to develop that affinity and he did so in a very horrendous way. And he should apologize for it, but it is exactly the tone of this campaign.”
Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney campaign senior adviser on Medicare
“In order the pay for Obamacare, he raided the Medicare piggy bank, took $700 billion out of the Medicare program and shifted it to Obamacare. That's wrong. An Mitt Romney will restore that money to Medicare. And of course as I said, one of the important principles he will follow in reforming that entitlement is making sure that none of the changes affect current seniors and that is people age 55 and above.”
Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney campaign senior adviser, on when Mitt Romney would balance the budget
ACOSTA: “…Governor Romney has said that out on the campaign trail that he hopes to have that balanced by the end of
his second term. You're not saying that - that's not in the cards this morning?” FEHRNSTROM: “I think that is an achievable objective by the end of his second term. What he has published is a deficit reduction plan that will cut the deficit by $500 billion by the year 2016.”
Stephanie Cutter, Deputy campaign manager for Obama, on the president and interviews
“He is traveling the country. We're running for re-election. Iowa is a critical state. We are going to spend our time talking to media all over this country… ACOSTA: Entertainment Tonight, People magazine, he did that as well. Is that - are they more important than the national news media? CUTTER: I don't think that they're more important, but I think they are equally important. I think that's where - a lot of Americans get their news. And I think the president is going to continue doing that.”
Stephanie Cutter, Deputy campaign manager for Obama, on Medicare
“Because Paul Ryan decided to join Mitt Romney's ticket, he is completely reversed himself on some of the issue he has been very strong on, like the $716 billion in savings that are in two of his budgets. … if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan get elected to the White House, Medicare will be bankrupt by the end of their first term, that is what that means. These are facts. And it is a complete distortion to say that the president is taking anything away from seniors.”