Paul Ryan: Budget "Slasher," "Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver"

Vol. 25, No. 17

Journalists Falsely Portray Paul Ryan as Budget “Slasher”


“New battle lines have been drawn after Mitt Romney chose conservative Congressman and budget slasher Paul Ryan as his running mate.”
— Co-host Bianna Golodryga on ABC’s Good Morning America, August 12.

“Ryan is the Republican with a plan to slash government spending by trillions of dollars, including politically dangerous changes to Medicare.”
— ABC's Jonathan Karl on World News, August 11.

“The selection of Ryan, the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare, has set a clear contrast between the two tickets.”
— NBC’s Peter Alexander on Today, August 13.

“He really slashes into social programs, and — I mean, it’s across the board — in order to try to get this budget back into balance.”
Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer on CBS This Morning, August 13. Under Ryan’s budget, federal spending actually increases, albeit at a slower rate than under Obama, from $3.6 to $4.9 trillion, over the next 10 years.


...While Carefully Shielding Obama — His “Cuts” Aren’t Cuts At All


“Republicans are pushing back by attacking the President for what they say were his cuts to Medicare in 2010 to pay for his health care overhaul....But Medicare was never cut. The cost of the program continues to rise, just at a slower pace. But when it comes to the politics of Medicare, the first victim is nuance.”
— Correspondent Chuck Todd on the NBC Nightly News, August 13.


A “Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver,” “Screwing” the Poor


“When he comes out with his budget that basically gives a great break to the richest people in the country, and really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that? What do you ask him? ‘How can you do this? How can you reward rich people, who already have all these breaks in this country, and hurt the people that have no breaks?’”
— Host Chris Matthews to Rep. Chris van Hollen (D-MD) on Hardball, August 11, just hours after Ryan was selected as the Republican vice presidential nominee. [MP3 audio (0:26)]

“In his decision to make Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, his running mate, Romney finally surrendered the tattered remnants of his soul not only to the extreme base of his party, but also to extremist economic policies, and to an extremist view of the country he seeks to lead...Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them.... He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live.”
Esquire’s Charles Pierce, a former Boston Globe Magazine writer, in an August 11 posting, “Paul Ryan: Murderer of Opportunity, Political Coward, Candidate for Vice President of the United States.”

“I’d been wondering how long it would take Republicans to realize that Paul Ryan is their guy....Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans? He’s Scrooge disguised as a Pickwick, an ideologue disguised as a wonk. Not since Ronald Reagan tried to cut the budget by categorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables has the G.O.P. managed to find such an attractive vessel to mask harsh policies with a smiling face....Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, August 15.


Chris Gets Giddy Over Nasty “Granny Off the Cliff” Ad


“Let me show you the ad that I have to like the most in this campaign. It’s an ad that has a familiar look to it. Let’s take a look at the granny off the cliff ad for a second....Here is a party that believes this stuff: Incentivize the rich, screw the poor, and screw older people who don’t have much to defend themselves with. It is true. It’s not just party rhetoric. It is true.”
— Chris Matthews to Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) on Hardball, August 13, talking about an ad showing a Ryan lookalike pushing an elderly woman off a cliff. [MP3 audio (1:29)]


Typical MSNBC Subtlety: Vote for Romney and “a Lot of People Will Die”


“What the press should be focused on is what are the consequences of repeal of ObamaCare. And the consequences, as Mike [Kinsley] just indicated, are death. Repeal equals death. People will die in the United States if ObamaCare is repealed. That is not an exaggeration. That is not crying fire. It’s a simple fact....They [the Obama campaign] need to move on to a debate about the main issue, which is ObamaCare. And they can bring death into the conversation and say, ‘No, we’re not calling Mitt Romney a murderer. What we are saying is that if he’s elected President, a lot of people will die.’”
— Former Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter, now an MSNBC political analyst, on The Ed Show, August 9.


Ryan Could Be “More Trouble than Tom Eagleton”


“This guy could be worse than Quayle, more trouble than Tom Eagleton, because this time, the presidential candidate and his team knew the weakness, saw the trouble they were walking into before they walked into it. And that’s not the best argument for Mr. Romney’s business acumen. This may be the worst merger since AOL bought Time Warner.”
— Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, August 14. In 1972, Eagleton was replaced after 18 days as George McGovern’s running mate for failing to disclose his history with mental illness. [MP3 audio (0:34)]


Fearing “Conservative” Ryan Will Be “Immovable Object”


“I’ve heard Paul Ryan described as a true conservative....Do you honestly think he is someone who will work and reach across the aisle to Democrats, or will he be an immovable object on key social issues and issues of ideology?”
— Host Matt Lauer to Newt Gingrich on NBC’s Today, August 14.


CBS Lobbies Romney & Ryan to Raise Taxes


“You said yesterday, I’m going to quote you, Mr. Ryan, ‘America is a place where if you work hard, and play by the rules, you can get ahead.’ But the fact is, a lot of people don’t think that’s true anymore. They don’t think the rules are fair. They think corporations and rich people are getting all these breaks and they’re getting stuck with paying the bills. They see some of the wealthiest paying the lowest tax rates. How are you going to fix that?...Doesn’t fairness dictate that the wealthiest people should not be paying the lowest taxes because that’s what happening many times?”
— CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on 60 Minutes, August 12.


We Need a Moderator Who’ll Spread Liberal Feminist Talking Points


“Romney wants to make abortions illegal, he wants to kill Planned Parenthood, he wants to repeal health care on day one — this election in particular has so many issues that matter not just to women, but to families. It’s critically important that a woman be a moderator, and be able to ask woman questions, family questions.”
— Ex-ABC News anchor and 1992 debate moderator Carole Simpson, as quoted by Politico’s Dylan Byers, August 10.


Voter ID Laws: Are Racists Just Out to Get Obama?


“With America’s first black President up for reelection this November, the conversation about voting rights has been reignited. Thirty states are currently enforcing some form of voter ID law, which many civil rights advocates say is an effort to suppress the minority vote....Do you think that having an African-American President is actually reigniting some of these old prejudices?”
— CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin to Carter-era UN Ambassador Andrew Young on Starting Point, August 6. [MP3 audio (0:37)]


Excusing Joe Biden’s “He’ll Put Ya’ll in Chains” Attack


Host Chris Matthews: “Obviously it was reference to slavery, historically. But I think of all of the code they have used on the other side about food stamps and welfare and welfare queens and all, it seems to be that’s a negative reference to slavery and to black folk. Whereas Biden, maybe he is trying too hard to get the support of black people, but he’s not using negative slurs in doing it. He is making a historic reference, he may not have been right to do. But it certainly wasn’t malignant like the other stuff we get. That’s my view. What’s yours?”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker: “Well, not only was it not malignant, Chris, I’m not even sure it had any, anything to do with race.”
— MSNBC’s Hardball, August 15. [MP3 audio (0:49)]


Why Doubt “Honorable” Harry on Romney Tax Charge?


Fill-in host Candy Crowley: “Before we turn this into a Harry Reid bashing, let me just say we don’t know. He says — he’s an honorable man, he says that he was told by someone at Bain that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes. Now, we’ve heard Mitt Romney, an honorable man, say I did pay taxes. But, Governor, there’s a way to fix this.”
Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu: “Yeah. I know. Harry Reid probably heard it from the mirror when he was shaving.”
Crowley: “Nonetheless, do you wish this conversation would go away? If you want to talk about the economy, wouldn’t the conversation about Mitt Romney’s tax returns go away if he just put them out there?”
— Exchange on CNN’s Situation Room, August 3.


“Harry Reid is a disgrace. But you expect this from Harry Reid, right? He does this kind of thing....But I saw another network anchor ask a Romney supporter about this accusation, saying ‘Harry Reid is a really honorable man. You should answer this. And by the way, there’s one way to settle this question and that’s for Mitt Romney to put his taxes out.’ That is exactly what that kind of a baseless, absurd charge is going to bring about and he’s having to answer questions about it all day. It’s ridiculous.”
The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes about an hour later on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier. [Crowley-Hayes compilation, MP3 audio (1:59)]


This Just In from the Obama Broadcasting Company


“One more note on things political. Knowing a hot product when he sees one, the President today visited the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado. Promptly took his shoes off, got on the mat, and said his grandmother would be proud there were no holes in his socks.”
— Anchor Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News, August 9.


Times Touts Obama’s Criticism of Media’s “False Balance”


“While former President George W. Bush and his aides liked to say they ignored the Fourth Estate, Mr. Obama is an avid consumer of political news and commentary. But in his informal role as news media critic in chief, he developed a detailed critique of modern news coverage that he regularly expresses to those around him....In private meetings with columnists, he has talked about the concept of ‘false balance’ — that reporters should not give equal weight to both sides of an argument when one side is factually incorrect. He frequently cites the coverage of health care and the stimulus package as examples, according to aides familiar with the meetings.”
New York Times correspondent Amy Chozick, August 8.


Sign up to receive Notable Quotables via e-mail.

PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
INTERNS: Jeffrey Meyer and Matt Vespa