The Romney-Ryan campaign has been hitting this theme hard, lying profusely about $700 billion in projected savings in Medicare, none of them involving cuts of benefits to Medicare recipients, as being money that Obama stole from Medicare.
This was an effective issue for Republicans in retaking the House of Representatives in 2010. If the Democratic response isn't aggressive enough and clear enough, it could work to their advantage this year, too.
I think this ad from the official Obama campaign, called "Facts" is pretty weak tea on the subject:
It doesn't say that the Ryan plan would abolish Medicare. Which it would. Even if they christened the replacement program "Medicare". It doesn't say clearly that Romney and Ryan will cut Medicare benefits. Which they would.
This is the campaign face of the cautious Obama, the conservative Democrat would wants to conclude a Grand Bargain with the Republicans that would cut benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This kind of ad is what he would need to build a claim to a "mandate" for the Grand Bargain.
Whether it will effectively exploit the Republicans' political vulnerability on Medicare is highly doubtful.
Tags: 2012 election, medicare