Just hours before Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president, was to take on Vice President Joe Biden, the incumbent Democrat, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said Ryan, his fellow Republican, had an unusual opportunity to boost the chances of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“Vice presidential debates are usually entertaining, but not important.” Alexander said in Memphis on Thursday. “This one might be a little more important because President Obama has made an issue out of Ryan’s Medicare proposal, and if Ryan can explain that adequately, it should help Governor Romney. Also, Ryan’s good in these forums. ..He talks in plain English, he’s very thoughtful, and he’s willing to compromise on his ideas to get a result.”
The “compromise” Alexander spoke of was Ryan’s alteration of his original plan to include traditional Medicare as an option. The Wisconsin congressman had earlier attracted national attention for a plan that would have phased Medicare in its present form, completely replacing it with a voucher system for seniors.
Alexander said he had voted for a variant of Ryan’s original plan twice. “But I admire him, because, over the last year, he’s adjusted it three or four times to gain support, which is the way I think a political leader ought to do.”
The Senator had just spoken to a session of the Tennessee County Services Association (TCSA) Fall Conference at the Convention Center on the general theme of government via bipartisan consultation and compromise, and he said Romney’s ability to function that way as governor of Massachusetts contrasted with President Obama, “who has shown no skill for it or interest in doing it.”
Alexander praised Romney in last week’s first presidential debate in Denver for “emphasizing issues that are important to the independent voter, because the independent voter is going to decide the election.” Of Obama’s performance in the debate, Alexander said, “He seemed like his staff hadn’t told him that it was going to be televised.”