Obama adviser: Paul Ryan a "certifiable right-wing ideologue"

Obama advisor David Axelrod on "CBS This Morning," August 13, 2012.
CBS News

(CBS News) David Axelrod, senior adviser to the Obama campaign, on Monday called Mitt Romney's running mate a "certifiable right-wing ideologue" and compared his reception to the greeting Sarah Palin received four years ago. Huge crowds greeted Ryan at campaign stops over the weekend, and the Romney campaign has raised millions of dollars since he was tapped.

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"There's no doubt that I think the appointment...has thrilled the base of the Republican party - the Tea Party Republicans, the social conservatives because Congressman Ryan is a certifiable right-wing ideologue," Axelrod told Anthony Mason on "CBS This Morning."

"I saw that kind of excitement four years ago, Anthony, when John McCain appointed Sarah Palin as well, there were huge crowds, much the same kind of reaction, and I don't think it worked out very well," he continued. "And I think when the reality catches up with the moment, it's not going to be a plus for Governor Romney."

Asked Ryan's strengths, Axelrod responded, ""He's a very genial guy. I know him. I like him. I just don't like his views. I think they're very dangerous views."

"For the middle class, It's like a choice between a punch to the nose and a knee to the groin," he said. Axelrod pointed to plans from the Republican ticket to cut taxes for the wealthy "and higher taxes for the middle class when it all nets out," his past support for President George W. Bush's economic policies and "more burdens on seniors and students."

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CBS News political director John Dickerson noted to Axelrod that Ryan had worked closely with a Democratic senator - Paul Wyden - and asked how that squared with Axelrod's characterization of Ryan as a "right-wing ideologue."

"I'd note that Wyden did not support the Ryan budget plan, including his Medicare plan, because he said it's badly skewed," Axelrod responded. He then said Ryan has voted largely with Republicans and called him "the intellectual leader of the Tea Party group" and an opponent to abortion, including in cases of rape and incest.

When Mason said Mr. Obama has cut over $700 million from Medicare to fund his health care plan, Axelrod called the claim a false Republican talking point.

"The fact is that we took that money and we extended the life of Medicare for eight years," he said, adding that prescription coverage was expanded.

"Make no mistake about it: These Republicans don't believe in Medicare," he said. "They want to turn it into a voucher program. And slowly, all the burden is going to shift to seniors themselves. And that is not an answer to entitlement reform."

Update, 8:15 AM Eastern: The Romney campaign's Amanda Henneberg responds:

"The Romney-Ryan ticket will continue to put forward idea after idea on how to grow the economy and get spending under control. We all know that President Obama and his team will continue to run a fear and smear campaign. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bring new ideas about creating jobs and controlling the budget. President Obama's campaign has accused Mitt Romney of committing crimes and killing people, and now they have turned their smear campaign to Paul Ryan. They have lost all credibility.

To pay for Obamacare, President Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare for today's seniors, which the Obama campaign described yesterday as an achievement. There's only one candidate in this race who has cut Medicare for today's seniors by hundreds of billions of dollars, and that's President Obama. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a bipartisan plan to strengthen Medicare and are committed to ensuring that Medicare remains strong - not just for today's seniors, but for tomorrow's seniors as well."