House Republicans received input from a huge number of sources about Paul Ryan’s budget plan before releasing it this week. The party was keen to avoid the political nightmare it suffered last year, when Democrats labeled Ryan’s ideas for Medicare reform as an abandonment of senior citizens, Politico
So the GOP conducted polls about Medicare in 50 contested congressional districts. It showed the plan to a dozen conservative groups to gauge their reaction while asking rank-and-file congressmen what had to be in the plan to earn their support. Ryan alerted the Republican presidential candidates to the plan, and Mitt Romney offered a quick public endorsement.
Perhaps most important, according to Politico, Republican leaders used polls to figure out what the best wording would be for the plan. A day before going public, top House Republicans met with National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) officials in Speaker John Boehner’s conference room to hash out key phrases.
It was important to call Medicare reform “bipartisan,” the congressional leaders were told, and the plan should be presented as helping to “fix Medicare and keep it from going bankrupt.” The NRCC officials also said the House leadership should stress that citizens 55 or older wouldn’t be affected by the change.
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