Nightly News | April 26, 2011
>>> meanwhile, the young republican congressman who has become the party's point person on the federal budget took his plan on the road today, directly to the people in his home state of wisconsin. nbc's kelly o'donnell was on the trail along with him. she's with us tonight from kenosha. kelly , good evening.
>> reporter: hi there, brian. well, from town to town we saw paul ryan get an earful from voters here. the powerful house budget committee chairman is fighting for his plan to reduce the country's debt. during this visit he's got 19 meetings. four of them just today.
>> hey, everybody.
>> reporter: he's the republican number cruncher.
>> we put our budget on a path to not only balance but to pay off the debt.
>> reporter: 41-year-old father of three paul ryan has represented wisconsin more than a dozen years. suddenly he's a lightning rod .
>> paul ryan looks like a nice young man.
>> reporter: targeted by liberal groups.
>> ending medicare so millionaires can get another tax break in.
>> reporter: a laugh line on cable.
>> we do tax the top. the -- [ boos ]
>> that is paul ryan , the architect of the plan, being booed.
>> reporter: today ryan claimed his critics don't get it.
>> it's people who don't understand what we're doing with medicare . what i find is there's a lot of demagoguery and distortion occurring.
>> reporter: armed with a powerpoint sales pitch, ryan is traveling his district to explain and defend his controversial budget overhaul.
>> we say leave medicare intact for current seniors as it is today, reform it for the next generation so that it doesn't go bankrupt --
>> reporter: under his plan those under 55 would shop for private health insurance and get federal money to pay part of the premium based on financial need, a drastic change.
>> my concern is that my 48-year-old son is not going to have medicare .
>> reporter: that scares and angers many voters in ryan 's back yard.
>> do not renew the bush tax credit for the wealthy. [ cheers and applause ]
>> reporter: ryan is strongly backed by republican leaders, and many here say ryan is right and the political risk he's taking is worth it.
>> i admire what he's doing because he's taking it on.
>> i can go do something else with my life. i sleep very soundly knowing that what i'm trying to do is help fix this country's problems.
>> reporter: and at one of the stops there was a standing ovation for ryan . at a couple of the events today there were so many people who wanted to get in but not enough room. fire marshals had to turn them away. brian?
>> kelly o'donnell in kenosha tonight. kelly , thanks for that.