A couple of interesting things in today's This Week roundtable: I agree with Cokie Roberts - and disagree with Howard Dean. The big story, of course, is the Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a 50% off coupon:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's talk about that a little bit more, but it's not only today that the Obama campaign has come out with an ad. President Obama has been going after Paul Ryan and his budget for the better part of two years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And a year ago, Democrats putting this ad up when trying to shape the congressional debate.
Not subtle, Paul Gigot.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But this is...
ROBERTS: And they won a congressional district that is a Republican district traditionally with this whole line of attack.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And partly because they can go to it, Paul, because there are so many specifics embedded in that Ryan budget that are out there for everyone...
GIGOT: Actually, I don't think that ad did work, and I don't think this campaign has worked so far, if you think about the congressional race. If they tried to change the congressional polling, it didn't work. Republicans are still even in the polls, despite this -- they've been hitting Medicare and the Ryan budget for a year-and-a-half. I think they -- the Republicans have to be prepared for the Medicare assault, and I hope the Republican -- Romney, if they want to win this, they're going to have to have -- they should have an ad in the can already defending against these attacks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the argument that President Obama cut $700 billion in Obamacare out of Medicare good enough?
GIGOT: It's not by itself good enough, but it's certainly a very good point, and it's also -- he wants to cut more, and he wants to cut -- because he said himself Medicare is unsustainable. But he said the way he's going to do it is with an unelected panel of 15 people, where their -- whose decisions will make the choice about what to cut...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you go straight back at health care.
GIGOT: And they're going to do it without judicial review, without legislative review.
ROBERTS: It's also intellectually dishonest, because the truth is, as you know, they say they're taking it away from providers. And every year, Congress votes to do what's called the doc fix, to give the providers back the money that has been cut. So, you know, that $700 billion, I won't look for it to be gone anytime soon.
OMG, Cokie the Villager told the truth! Not only that, she said the argument was "dishonest." Wow, Cokie, I didn't know you had it in you.
DEAN: Well, here's the problem with talking about $700 billion that got cut out of Medicare, which was then transferred to Obamacare, which takes care of the same people, so it's -- the problem is that nobody believes it. You can't convince people that a Democrat's going to cut Medicare. They don't believe that.
Here's where I disagree with Dr. Dean. In 2010, a barrage of Republican ads in swing states hammered the Democrats for that very thing. And you know what? People believed them, the ads work. Why did they work? I assume because the Democrats never answered with ads of their own. Voters assumed there must be something to the accusation, because they never heard otherwise. So walk carefully, Dr. Dean. Don't assume too much.
It's the same problem Mitt Romney has with all his Swiss bank accounts and his Cayman Islands. People just don't think Mitt Romney cares about ordinary people. They just don't believe he does. And I don't think the addition of Paul Ryan is going to help that any. That's the problem. That's the core problem. People vote on whether you care -- this candidate cares about people like me, and I don't think this is going to change that very much in the Republican side.