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Chuck Todd challenges GOP's Medicare talking point


The Romney campaign and Republicans have set out to make them into the heroes on Medicare (vouchers = choice = great!) despite selecting a running mate who has specifically spelled out ways to gut the country's health care system for seniors and shift more of the burden of costs to the elderly.

Seeking to confuse the issue on Medicare, Mitt Romney himself, along with his GOP surrogates, have accused President Obama of being the one who "robbed" Medicare of billions of dollars, or as the Republican National Committee's Reince Priebus termed it: possessing "blood on his hands."

The GOP narrative bases its accusation on an Obama administration rule under the Affordable Care Act that reduces Medicare payments to some hospitals, private insurers, and on prescription drugs as a way to control costs on the country's burgeoning health care bill.

The problem with Republicans attacking the president on this topic is namely because it's the GOP that has voted, via the Paul Ryan budget, to cut Medicare benefits for seniors, not the Democrats. The Obama change to Medicare does not reduce the benefits that seniors receive as PolitiFact has pointed out when this line of attack has cropped up previously among the right.

MSNBC host Chuck Todd appeared to grow tired of hearing the talking point and took Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a one-time member of the Romney campaign's short-list for VP, to task when he began to trot out the line on Daily Rundown Monday.


"[President Obama] didn’t make any cuts to programs. They are trying to slow the growth and yet you guys are calling it 'cuts,'" Todd said to Jindal.

"I think the difference is that President Obama cut Medicare by over $700 billion," began Jindal. 

"No, let me stop you there," Todd cut in. "But he didn’t cut it. Is it a cut? Now you're saying slowing the growth is a cut? That’s what you’re saying when you use the $700-billion talking point?"

Jindal sought to explain the nuance away, arguing Obama's plan won't work to extend Medicare. "The difference is that he didn’t use those savings to extend the solvency of the trust fund," he said. "He took that money out of Medicare to create a new entitlement when we can't afford the programs we’ve got." 

Editor's Note: This story appeared under the previous headline of: Chuck Todd calls out GOP faux $700B Medicare talking point. It was updated to reflect nuances in the "cut" vs. "spending growth slowdown" debate over Medicare.