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Today’s Headlines – August 30, 2012

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports on Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech to the GOP convention.

The New York Times: Rousing G.O.P., Ryan Faults ‘Missing’ Leadership
Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, whose budget plans have come to define conservative opposition to President Obama’s governing philosophy, accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday as his party embraced the gamble that the small-government principles he represents have more political payoff than peril. Before an audience of party faithful that he brought to life with his address, Mr. Ryan, 42, sought to turn his relative youth to his advantage, saying he would stand with Mitt Romney in embarking on a generational struggle to protect the very social program — Medicare — that Democrats accuse him of trying to dismantle (Rutenberg, 8/29).

The New York Times: Ryan Speech Equal Parts Biography, Policy And Contrast
In the face of attacks by Mr. Obama and Democrats to paint Republicans as foes of Medicare, Mr. Ryan said, essentially: Bring it on. “Our opponents can consider themselves on notice,” he said. “In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate” (Shear, 8/29).

For more headlines …

Los Angeles Times: Ryan Leads GOP Assault On Obama
While Tuesday’s first convention night was devoted to broad strokes — praise for the Republican ticket, condemnation of the Democrats — Ryan began to fill in a few details of what a Romney administration would seek to accomplish. He called for the repeal of “Obamacare” and set a job-creation goal that would far surpass the number created under Obama — though not, independent economists have said, particularly ambitious in the context of a healthy economy. Beyond policy, Ryan spoke to one of Romney’s biggest political liabilities: a perception of pliability suggested by his changed position on abortion and other issues. “Here is our pledge,” Ryan said, as his running mate watched on TV from a nearby hotel suite. “We will not duck the tough issues. We will lead” (Barabak and Lauter, 8/29).

Los Angeles Times: Ryan Rouses GOP Convention By Trashing Obama On Economy
He also faulted Obama for devoting a good deal of his first term to what he called “a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of healthcare.” He did not mention the similar landmark healthcare law that Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts. “Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country,” Ryan told the crowd, which punctuated his speech with applause after nearly every line (Finnegan, 8/29).

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan Promises GOP ‘Won’t Duck The Tough Issues’
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin accepted the GOP nomination for vice president on Wednesday with a declaration that President Obama, who was elected four years ago on a promise of hope and change, has failed and his opportunity has been squandered. … Ryan’s selection was a big gamble for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, given the House Budget Committee chairman’s authorship of a controversial budget that would overhaul the federal Medicare program — whose preservation is an issue on which Democrats have frequently bested Republicans (Tumulty, 8/29).

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan Tells His Story In Convention Speech, But Skips The Wonky Parts
Since Mitt Romney chose Ryan as his running mate, there has been little sign of the Budget Committee chairman who wants to reengineer Medicare and who wades confidently through billions and trillions. Instead, Ryan casts himself more simply, as a football-loving family man from the Midwest who hunts deer and catches catfish. During his last big speech, the largest number involved in his personal appeal was 67 — the number of his cousins. This approach is useful because it does not highlight the differences between Ryan’s big ideas and Romney’s. But it is also a version of a well-honed pitch that has carried Ryan to success in Washington (Fahrenthold and Sonmez, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Pledges GOP Rebirth
Rep. Paul Ryan took the national political stage Wednesday as the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate, giving a televised speech that laid out one of the GOP’s sharpest cases yet against a second term for President Barack Obama, and for Republicans as the party of small government. … Mr. Ryan’s selection heralds the emergence of a new generation of Republican leaders willing to reshape the main pillars of a social safety net that has been in place since the 1960s. The 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman is the architect of far-reaching legislation to cut federal spending and to overhaul entitlement programs, including a proposal to transform Medicare from open-ended health coverage for seniors into a system in which future beneficiaries buy private insurance, or buy into the traditional Medicare program, with premiums subsidized by the government (O’Connor and McKinnon, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Party Takes Risk On Seniors Plan
Rep. Paul Ryan signaled Wednesday that rather than running from Democratic attacks on Republican plans to overhaul Medicare, his party will carry the attack to President Barack Obama. In accepting his party’s nomination as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Mr. Ryan intensified his party’s complaints about Medicare spending cuts that were part of Mr. Obama’s signature health-care law, taking the offensive on an issue that has been an albatross for the GOP for years (Hook and Nicholas, 8/29).

USA Today: News Analysis: Ryan Says ‘America Needs A Turnaround’
It is Paul Ryan’s party now. … Ryan and the GOP “young guns” he helps lead, boosted by the Tea Party movement, are providing much of the energy in the grass-roots, the enthusiasm in the hall and the ideological stamp that has the GOP ticket playing offense on an issue such as Medicare, long seen by the party establishment as a snare certain to rebound to Democrats’ advantage (Page, 8/30).

Politico: Paul Ryan Health Primer: What He Said, What He Didn’t
Paul Ryan used his convention speech Wednesday night to bash “Obamacare,” reassure seniors — and neutralize the Democratic attacks he knows are coming on his Medicare plans. But what he didn’t say is just as important as what he did (Nather, 8/30).

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Ryan Takes Factual Shortcuts In Speech
Laying out the first plans for his party’s presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama’s policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit. … A closer look at some of the words spoken at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. (Gillum and Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/30).

The New York Times: Ryan Medicare Plan Is Already Shaking Up House Races
Republican and Democratic pollsters and strategists say a curious split is developing around the Ryan plan. The top of the Republican ticket — Mitt Romney and Mr. Ryan — is holding its own with the issue in a presidential contest that has shown little movement in polls for months. But down the ticket, Medicare attacks are taking a serious toll on Republicans (Weisman, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Braly’s Exit At WellPoint Applauded by Investors
WellPoint Inc. shares rose 7.7% Wednesday in the wake of Chief Executive Angela Braly’s announced departure, signaling the extent of investor dissatisfaction about the company’s performance over her five-year tenure. Though the final move was abrupt—coming only a month after the board had publicly backed Ms. Braly’s strategy—it came as the culmination of years of building concern among some shareholders over what they saw as a series of operational missteps (Wilde Mathews and Benoit, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Pledges To Expand Programs To Help Veterans
Mitt Romney vowed Wednesday to expand employment and tuition assistance for veterans, taking a quick detour from the Republican National Convention to unveil new policy details in a speech here. The Romney address at the American Legion convention was designed to contrast his plans for military and veterans’ spending with pending Pentagon budget cuts. The speech focused on hurdles faced by the Veterans Affairs Department in providing care to veterans suffering physical, emotional and mental wounds, which Mr. Romney dubbed “reproachable failures” (Murray, 8/29).

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown’s Plan To Stem Pension Costs Is No Panacea
Even by the most ambitious forecasts, the plan Gov. Jerry Brown and fellow Democrats are championing to contain government worker pensions in California could leave state taxpayers awash in debt to public employees. The governor’s plan, announced Tuesday, is unlikely to save cities on the brink of bankruptcy. The relief his proposal would provide to the strained state budget is modest. … Brown had pushed for more. His initial proposal would have housed a sizable chunk of retirement money for new hires in 401(k)-style funds, shifting considerable financial risk away from taxpayers to employees. He also had taken aim at tens of billions of dollars in lifetime healthcare expenses awarded to hundreds of thousands of state and local government workers. Brown’s negotiations with lawmakers resulted in a more modest plan (Halper and York, 8/29).