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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

Determined to preempt Democratic attacks on their Medicare plan, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have launched an offensive to portray themselves as the protectors of the seniors program while attacking President Obama for having "robbed" Medicare to pay for 'Obamacare.'

The charge is problematic because Ryan's budget included the same $716 billion in provider pay cuts, although Romney and Ryan now say they'll rescind the savings. But it's ironic for another reason: the Romney-Ryan plan would convert Medicare into a program that's remarkably similar to the Affordable Care Act.

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The Obama campaign is responding to attacks from Mitt Romney with a TV ad that cites AARP as evidence that the Affordable Care Act won't harm seniors despite its payment cuts to Medicare providers.

Republicans on the House Ways & Means Committee on Friday returned fire by seeking to discredit AARP, accusing the influential seniors' group of sacrificing the well-being of its elderly members in order to boost its profits.

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Rep. Paul Ryan has cited Rage Against The Machine as one of his favorite bands, but its guitarist Tom Morello doesn't love him back.

"Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades," opens Tom Morello in a scathing Rolling Stone op-ed lashing the VP nominee.

"He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage," wrote Morello, an activist for progressive causes.

He added: "Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta 'rage' in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions."

Rep. Paul Ryan is considered a single-issue candidate -- a vice presidential pick who bolsters Mitt Romney's argument that this election is about the economy and only the economy.

Ryan hasn't dedicated much time to social issues. But the Wisconsinite, best understood as an anti-tax, anti-spending purist, has taken positions outside the mainstream on issues like abortion and women's health.

An examination of Ryan's record reveals a congressman who, with few exceptions, has hewed to his party's far-right base on social issues. He has supported a federal ban on abortion even in the case of rape and incest, and a ban on gay adoption.

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Senate Democrats' chief policy and messaging strategist is telling his members to hammer Mitt Romney's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan all the way to Election Day, not just as a Medicare slayer but also as a fiscal phony.

In a memo his office provided to TPM, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calls on Democrats to puncture the central Romney campaign narrative that the Republican ticket is serious about tackling the nation's greatest fiscal challenges. The document reflects Democrats' longstanding frustrations with the credibility Ryan has among Washington centrists as a sincere deficit hawk.

"If we can succeed in showing voters how Ryan is not really a deficit hawk at all -- that he prioritizes conservative ideology over balancing the budget -- the rationale for his selection is gone, and Romney's political high-wire act will fail," Schumer writes.

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The Romney campaign's new ad blitz reinforces its latest attack -- that President Obama cut Medicare spending by $716 billion -- with an ominous warning to seniors. But the Affordable Care Act's cuts and other Medicare reforms don't touch benefits, they target waste in provider payments.

In fact, the totality of Obama's Medicare reforms expand benefits for seniors and lower out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act actually enhances Medicare benefits by closing the prescription drug coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole" and expanding free preventive services, including an annual wellness visit.

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Early in 2010, a little-known congressman named Paul Ryan introduced a radical blueprint to remake the federal budget. Two and a half years later, having won over nearly all congressional Republicans in updated versions of the proposal, he is the party's vice presidential nominee to be.

Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap For America's Future," was the precursor to his sweeping budget proposals in 2011 and 2012 that nearly all Republicans voted for. Updated versions of some of its components, like the plans to remake Medicare and the tax code, were included, while others, like the proposals to privatize Social Security, were dropped.

Here's a guide to some of its most sweeping reforms.

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