WASHINGTON — Democratic strategist David Axelrod attacked Republican Mitt Romney's choice of a vice presidential running mate as an ideologue who would demolish government health insurance for the elderly.
Paul Ryan, Romney's pick, is "the architect of a plan to end Medicare as we know it," Axelrod, a top advisor to President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, said on ABC's "This Week."
Ryan's proposal to turn the public insurance plan into a voucher system will "shift thousands of dollars of costs onto senior citizens," Axelrod said.
Moreover, Ryan's plan to privatize the national pension program known as Social Security "was so out there that even George Bush called it irresponsible," he added.
Axelrod's comments came as Democrats mounted a fierce counter-attack a day after Romney picked as his runningmate a congressman who known as a leading advocate for deep cuts in US spending to deal with what Republicans say are unsustainable US deficits.
The choice was seen by many as a bold, but risky move that will re-focuses the US presidential campaign on debt and deficit issues amid a sluggish US economic recovery.
"I think it will be a booster shot within his own party," Axelrod acknowledged. "I think the Tea Party is excited. I think the social conservatives are excited."
Ryan's budget proposal "cuts back on college aid to kids, and research, and innovation and all the things that we need to grow the economy. And on things that people rely on, nursing home care for seniors, and for the disabled and so on," Axelrod told NBC's "Meet the Press."
President Obama has portrayed Romney as a wealthy venture capitalist who would shower the rich with tax cuts, and saddle the middle class with the bill, in the form of higher taxes and cuts to key social programs.
Conservatives cheered Ryan's name on the ticket as a jolt to the Republican base ensuring the election will be framed around major issues like the role and size of government.
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