The Washington Times - August 14, 2012, 08:07AM

Lest anyone think questions over vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare will go away any time soon, look no further than Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor, who vigorously defended his boss Tuesday morning while accusing a CNN host of carrying water for the Obama administration in a heated exchange.

“The budget plan, the approach on Medicare and all that, is going to be the Romney plan,” Mr. Sununu said on CNN’s “Starting Point.”


But isn’t the “Romney plan” the “Ryan plan?” asked host Soledad O’Brien. Mr. Romney, after all, offered praise for the Ryan plan and said it would be “marvelous” if the Senate would take it up and send it to President Obama’s desk.

Mr. Romney has expressed “support for the concepts that are in the Ryan plan, but Mitt Romney, for six months, has had on the table his package, his plan, and his approach for dealing with Medicare, and if all you want to do is keep repeating the garbage that comes out of the White House, then you’ve got a problem,” Mr. Sununu replied.

Mr. Sununu said that Mr. Romney’s plan would not take $700 billion-plus from Medicare, as, he said, Mr. Obama’s plan does, adding that parts of Mr. Ryan’s plan “mimics” that reduction and Mr. Romney’s does not. Ms. O’Brien dismissed the figure as a Republican talking point that’s been debunked by fact-checkers.

“I have the Congressional Budget Office report right here, dated July 24, from [CBO Director] Doug Elmendorf,” Mr. Sununu retorted. “Go read Page 13 and 14.”

Ms. O’Brien then pointed out that it cuts a reduction in the expected rate of growth, not benefits to current seniors.

“I’ve got the CBO report right here,” he continued. “Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead when you do this.”

“John Sununu, always nice to have you joining us, governor — pleasure,” she said after more sparring.

“Yup,” Mr. Sununu replied.