GOP Budget Architect Paul Ryan Heads Home To Mixed Reviews House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has drawn huge crowds at listening sessions in his Wisconsin district. While a few constituents have asked him to run for president in 2012, others have raised a slew of concerns, from what will happen to their medical coverage to Ryan's plan to cut taxes for the wealthy.
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GOP Budget Architect Heads Home To Mixed Reviews

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GOP Budget Architect Heads Home To Mixed Reviews

GOP Budget Architect Heads Home To Mixed Reviews

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Wisconsin public radio's Chuck Quirmbach has visited some of those meetings and sent this report.

CHUCK QUIRMBACH: Ryan now draws overflow crowds at his district meetings. Yesterday, about 200 people crowded into city hall in Lake Geneva. As national television crews looked on, Ryan asked the audience to dispel the image forged in the state's ongoing collective bargaining fight that people here can no longer get along.

PAUL RYAN: Let's prove to these press people that Wisconsinites can have civil debate, that we can treat each other with respect.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

QUIRMBACH: Supporters like Maria Melenzio-Kinsey say that Ryan's budget plan tries to head off severe economic problems in the years ahead, and she calls it courageous.

MARIA MELENZIO: The whole United States, you're standing up for. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

QUIRMBACH: Prior to a listening session in the Village of Paddock Lake, Bob Pringle said a tax cut could convince the well-heeled to create more jobs.

BOB PRINGLE: It's probably important for people you want to start up and restart a business. Unfortunately, a lot of people think all these rich people don't do that, but they do.

QUIRMBACH: Brian Prell said Medicare vouchers wouldn't keep up with the rising costs of health care.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS)

BRIAN PRELL: He's going to save us money by cutting some of our social programs, but yet he's going to give that money, that same money, back in tax cuts to the people that least need them? To me, that is pretty much lying. That's two-faced. That's dishonest. That's Paul Ryan in a nutshell.

QUIRMBACH: Paul Ryan acknowledges the House budget is going to have a tough time passing the Senate and competing with the president's proposal that seeks smaller changes in Medicare. When asked at one session if it'll take a Republican election sweep next year to get his program enacted, he said he would push for compromise this year.

RYAN: We're not going to get a grand-slam budget agreement. But hopefully, we can get a single or a double or maybe a triple. It's baseball season, so I'm going to use baseball analogies.

QUIRMBACH: For NPR News, I'm Chuck Quirmbach in Milwaukee.

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