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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

Lost in the back and forth between the Obama and Romney campaigns over who's the real Medicare cutter is a critical difference between visions: President Obama's plan is to make the program solvent by reducing payments to health care providers, while Rep. Paul Ryan achieves his savings by transforming Medicare into a voucher-like system.

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On the Sunday talk shows, Republicans continued to deflect criticism of Mitt Romney vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial Medicare plan by pointing out that 'Obamacare' cuts the program by $700 billion. But the same cuts are in Ryan's budget.

"This president stole -- he didn't cut Medicare -- he stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, on NBC's "Meet The Press." "If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it's Barack Obama. He's the one that's destroying Medicare."

The remarks oversimplify reality. The Affordable Care Act included $700 billion in reimbursement reductions under Medicare to hospitals, drug companies and supplemental private insurance plans, in an effort to slow the cost growth of the program. Benefits remain untouched; the cuts only target providers.

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Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that Paul Ryan is against Medicare, period.

"They do not believe in Medicare," he said on ABC's "This Week." "Let's be clear. Congressman Ryan is an ideologue who doesn't believe in the Medicare program, wanted to do away with it. Newt Gingrich called it 'right-wing social engineering' when [Ryan] surfaced his Medicare plan, and he was right about that."

On "Fox News Sunday," DNC Chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz deflected questions about a pro-Obama group's ad insinuating that Mitt Romney is indirectly responsible for a woman's death.

"It's not a Democratic ad," she said. "It's a Priorities USA super PAC ad, which we have nothing to do with."

Pressed on whether she denies it's a Democratic group, she responded, "I have no idea the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that super PAC."

Priorities USA is run by Bill Burton, who worked for Obama's 2008 campaign and served as his deputy White House press secretary. Obama's campaign has endorsed the group.

After the RNC flagged her remarks, Wasserman Schultz revised them on Twitter:

DNC chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed out on "Fox News Sunday" that the Affordable Care Act has extended the solvency of Medicare by eight years.

"The Affordable Care Act added eight years of solvency to the Medicare program," she said, arguing that Medicare needs to be strengthened but not turned into a voucher program, which Paul Ryan's plan converts it to.

The finding was reached by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that the law's payment cuts to Medicare providers will save some $700 billion over a decade. Republicans are evoking the cuts -- which don't affect benefits -- to deflect criticism of the Ryan plan.

Asked if Mitt Romney's selection of Paul like mirrors his 2008 selection of Sarah Palin as vice president, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on "Fox News Sunday" that Ryan is "also a bold choice."

"I'm proud of Sarah and her family, and I'm proud of the work we did," he said. "I think that in this case it is also a bold choice."

Asked on "Fox News Sunday" if Paul Ryan will overshadow Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joking brought up his selection of Sarah Palin in 2008.

"I had that problem," he said, laughing.

"No, I don't think that's the case. I think this is a team that understands the challenges that we face," he continued. "And Americans recognize that running mates are very important but it's the top of the ticket, obviously, that's what the voters decide on as they enter the ballot booth."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dodged a question on "Fox News Sunday" about whether he embraces vice presidential pick Paul Ryan's budget, instead evoking Ryan's work with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Medicare.

"Right now, I guess we have to ask, what is the plan that Democrats have besides negative attack ads," he said.

McCain said it's "appropriate" for Mitt Romney to hedge on parts of the Ryan plan.

TPMLivewire