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When he proposed a long-term budget this year, Democrats immediately pounced on the fact that it scaled back Medicare spending in later years. One commercial by the liberal Agenda Project told viewers to “ask Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress” to explain grandmothers in wheelchairs being pushed off cliffs.

On Sunday’s talk shows, Mr. Dean reiterated that Democratic line in the sand, and did so immediately after having said “everybody” needed to sacrifice.

“There’s some things you can’t put into the pot. If Medicare eligibility goes up to 67, you’re going to see people running against Democrats in primaries. You know, we’re not going to penalize old people,” he said.