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Is Ryan the 'Coke Zero' of the Romney campaign? (+video)

One political analyst suggests that presidential contender Mitt Romney would like 'All the bold taste, but none of the calories of a detailed policy discussion' from his running mate Congressman Paul Ryan. This may be particularly true in discussions of healthcare. 

By Sam YoungmanReuters / August 16, 2012

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. greets the crowd at a campaign stop at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, Thursday.

AP Photo/Phil Long

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan acknowledged on Thursday that his proposed healthcare reforms rely on many of the same spending reductions for which he has criticized President Barack Obama, something that could undercut a central message of the Republican campaign.

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Ryan and Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, charge that Obama's 2010 health law would weaken the popular Medicare health plan for the elderly by reducing its costs by $716 billion over the coming 10 years.

On Thursday, Ryan acknowledged that his own budget plan would keep the savings included in Obama's Affordable Care Act even as it would do away with the law itself.

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"We voted to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, including those cuts," he told reporters at a hot dog stand in Ohio.

"When you repeal all of Obamacare what you end up doing is that repeals (those savings) as well. In our budget we've restored a lot of that," he said, referring to the savings.

Ryan's statement underlines the fact that his own budget plan, which passed the House of Representatives this spring, envisions spending $205 billion less on Medicare than Obama would during that time period.

Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen, an Obama ally, told reporters Ryan would not use those savings to improve health coverage.

"While the Ryan plan took the savings, they did not plow any of the money back into strengthening Medicare benefits and in fact they used the money as part of their plan for additional tax cuts for the very wealthy," Van Hollen said on a conference call.

Medicare has moved front and center in the presidential race since Romney picked Ryan to be his running mate on Saturday.

Ryan has galvanized conservatives with his plan to gradually convert Medicare's fee-for-service approach into a system that relies on private insurers to keep costs down.

Under Ryan's plan, retirees would get a set amount of money each year to purchase health insurance on the private market or to pay for traditional Medicare.

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