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Transition 2012

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Midday Update: Obama, Ryan Square Off on Medicare at AARP

by Newsteam Staff
September 21, 2012

President Obama takes part in town hall hosted by Univision at University of Miami September 20, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: President Obama on Univision in Coral Gables, Florida September 20, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

President Barack Obama and GOP Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, addressed an AARP convention in New Orleans today. Obama said the Romney-Ryan plan would leave seniors at the mercy of insurance companies (TheHill), while Ryan said Obama’s signature healthcare law would curb future Medicare spending (HuffingtonPost).

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll this week finds that Obama’s approach to Medicare is favored over Romney’s, 47 percent to 37 percent (CBS).

With bread and butter economic issues and U.S. competitiveness continuing to be a focal point of campaign 2012, the Obama campaign released a new television ad today (HuffingtonPost) defending the president’s position on Medicare and claiming that “the Romney-Ryan plan could raise seniors’ costs up to $6,400 a year.”

Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responded by saying that, “President Obama has done nothing to reform Medicare for the long-term and prevent it from going bankrupt.”

Read more about the candidates’ positions on the economy in this CFR Issue Tracker.


Obama defended his immigration record (NPR) against accusations that he has broken campaign promises he made in 2008 at a Univision forum last night, a day after Romney made his pitch on the Spanish-language channel.

Obama said his biggest failure so far is not getting comprehensive immigration reform accomplished, but added “it’s not for lack of trying or desire – and I’m confident that we’re going to accomplish that.” (Guardian)

Obama said that while he would take most of the responsibility for a lack of reform, some blame also could be placed on a lack of cooperation from Republicans (ABC), saying that he did not expect Republicans who had previously supported reform to “suddenly walk away.”

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on immigration.


The wind production tax credit — at the center of debate over manufacturing jobs and U.S. energy security — is now in the middle of an intense lobbying battle that has played out in the presidential campaigns, reports the Washington Post.

“Republican and Democratic governors trumpet the benefits of wind energy; industry officials can identify manufacturing jobs at risk in crucial presidential election swing states if the tax credit expires; and a phalanx of lobbyists and consultants are working to ensure it stays in place for at least one more year,” writes the Post’s Juliet Eilperin. “But now an unusual coalition is fighting the extension, including tea party followers, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the electric utility most closely associated with President Obama.”

Some Democrats are trying to attach a vote on the credit (The Hill) to GOP legislation on the coal industry. Companies like Siemens have already announced wind energy sector layoffs (WSJ) due to uncertainty over the future of the tax credit.

Read what the candidates are proposing for energy policy in this CFR Issue tracker.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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