“Whether or not they [the Romney campaign] want to say that they have their own plan on Day One, or whatever they’re doing, it doesn’t change the reality of them having to own the Ryan plan. How is that in the wheelhouse of creating jobs?” added a GOP consultant.
Joked another: “The most popular phrase in Washington right now is: ‘I love Paul Ryan, but …’”
“This could be the defining moment of the campaign. If they win the battle to define Medicare, then I believe Romney wins the presidency. If they lose it, then they lose big in the fall,” the same strategist said, acknowledging that Romney had to choose from a flawed list of VP options
“He just doesn’t seem like he can step into the job on Day One,” said the strategist, who professed himself a Ryan fan.
“Very not helpful down ballot — very,” said one top Republican consultant.
“This is the day the music died,” one Republican operative involved in 2012 races said after the rollout. The operative said that every House candidate now is racing to get ahead of this issue.
Another strategist emailed midway through Romney and Ryan’s first joint event Saturday: “The good news is that this ticket now has a vision. The bad news is that vision is basically just a chart of numbers used to justify policies that are extremely unpopular.”
“It turned a referendum into a choice,” said one Washington Republican lawyer. “[Choosing Ryan] forfeited the no-real-world-experience point Romney has been building up for months [about Obama] and put a new state in play that was otherwise trending his way [Florida].”
A top Republican in the 2012 campaign expressed doubt that even a protracted fight about the national debt would produce the kind of outcome Republicans are looking for: “My polling says that while the debt does matter to people, (a) they don’t really like any of the things we would have to do to fix it and (b) the economy has roared back as the No. 1 issue in every battleground state, eclipsing the issue that Ryan brings to the fore.”