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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. 

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The amount of the subsidy would grow at a slower rate than the projected rate of medical inflation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that could force retirees to pay more out-of-pocket costs for their medical care.

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The plan would only apply to people younger than 55.

Public reception of the plan has been mixed, with older voters most skeptical. Obama and his fellow Democrats charge that Ryan's approach would "end Medicare as we know it."

Obama plan unpopular too 

Romney and Ryan are banking on the fact that voters, who go to the polls Nov. 6, are also unenthusiastic about Obama's health law.

Obama's planned health savings would come largely through reduced payments to hospitals and insurers, and patient benefits would not be affected. The savings would be used to expand health coverage to 30 million lower-income Americans.

Romney said that too much cost squeezing could prompt health care providers to drop out of the program, leaving Medicare recipients with fewer treatment options. His campaign said on Tuesday it would "restore the funding to Medicare."

"As the seniors in America understand what the President's plan is doing to Medicare, they're going to find it unacceptable," Romney told a news conference in Greer, South Carolina on Thursday.

As a congressman, Ryan was known for his detailed presentations about the merits of his plan and the perils of rising health costs. But the Romney campaign so far has avoided discussing details of the plan on the campaign trail.

"Romney wants Ryan to be the Coke Zero of his campaign: All the bold taste, but none of the calories of a detailed policy discussion of entitlements," said Dante Scala, a political analyst at the University of New Hampshire.

One Republican strategist with knowledge of the campaign's thinking said that its cautious approach was less due to Ryan's abilities than a desire to avoid a repeat of the disastrous reception of the party's 2008 vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.

"I think it's smart that he gains his footing, his traction and his comfort level," the strategist said. "Frankly, I'm pleased that they're erring on the side of caution as they tell the country who he is."

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