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RUSH: Karl Rove last night. He was on with Greta after I was. She asked him a question: “The fact that the Democrat Party won that seat, New York-26, and it was seen as a statement about the Ryan budget, shows how complicated it is, politically difficult.”

ROVE: Rush Limbaugh hit it. The woman who won that congressional race, the Democrat who won it got 1% more than Barack Obama received when he lost the district in 2000. The only reason the Democrats won this thing, the only reason they had a serious candidate in this race was there was a rich third-party candidate who had previously run three times as a Democrat who ran as a Tea Partier in this election and spent $3 million of his own money trashing the Republican. Without that the Democrats would not have a chance. Democrats misread this.

RUSH: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m not gonna play the bite. I’m not gonna waste time. I got Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, who thinks that New York-26 means that the 2012 election is already over, that if the Republicans can’t hold onto Jack Kemp’s seat, it’s all academic from here on out, it’s over. And furthermore that Paul Ryan is responsible for killing the Republican Party by daring to bring up Medicare and talking about reforming it. Now, he was on, Ryan was, with Bret Baier on the Fox News Special Report last night. Bret Baier said, “Here’s what Governor Pawlenty said today about your Medicare plan. Pawlenty said, ‘I’ve got my own plan. If I can’t have that and the bill came to my desk, and I had to choose between signing or not Congressman Ryan’s plan, of course I’d sign Congressman Ryan’s.'” Baier says, “That’s not exactly an endorsement. Are you surprised overall that more candidates have not been more supportive or leading the charge on your plan?”

RYAN: What matters to me is not that we get an endorsement on every little detail we put out there. What matters to me is that leaders step up and offer solutions to our country’s problems and I really do believe if you want to be the president of the United States, you should put up ideas on how to solve this country’s massive fiscal and economic problems. The current president isn’t doing that. Our nominee should do that. And so I’m excited that they’re bringing their ideas to the table, offering their solutions, and that’s exactly the kind of debate we ought to be having in the Republican Party.

RUSH: Okay. So they tried to get Ryan and Pawlenty going at it. Ryan wouldn’t take the bait. So now they’re focusing on Pawlenty because I did say, “It’s time for somebody to stand up here, the Ryan Medicare plan is under assault, it’s time for somebody to step up and start defending Ryan’s plan.” Right now there are only two Medicare plans on the table. There are two. In the first one, Medicare goes broke in 13 years. The second plan, Medicare is slightly tweaked to make it more competitive so that it can survive. The media and the rest of the Democrat Party called the second plan radical and crazy and completely unacceptable. The plan that caused Medicare to go broke in 13 years, the media supports. That’s Obamacare. Ryan is crazy nuts all and saves the plan. That’s where we are. But here’s Pawlenty. He was at the Cato Institute on Wednesday night, Q&A, an audience member said, “I want to know your reaction to the Ryan plan in light of the outcome of the New York special election.”

PAWLENTY: Our Medicare plan, which we’ll have out shortly in not-too-distant future will have some differences. We’ll be speaking about payment reform and paying providers, not just for volume but for quality and results as part of their compensation. We’ll be offering a variety of choices to people where they can choose to stay in the current program or select from other options.

RUSH: Okay, now, here’s Pawlenty, he’s at Cato, okay, do you like the Ryan plan? Will you support it, New York-26, we might havelost that election ’cause of Ryan, what do you think? So Pawlenty has to walk a tightrope here. He’s running for president. He’s got to have his own ideas, part and parcel of the objective here. But you can’t diss Ryan, either. I understand Pawlenty here. It wouldn’t serve him to say, “No, I don’t support the Ryan plan.” It wouldn’t serve it at all. That’s what they want. They want dissension on the Republican side. They want to create circular firing squads on our side. So here’s what he said about the Ryan plan and whether or not he would sign it.

PAWLENTY: If I can’t have my own plan, as president I’ll have my own plan. If I can’t have that and the bill came to my desk and I had to choose between signing or not Congressman Ryan’s plan, of course I’d sign it.

RUSH: Okay. Does that satisfy you? Now, to me, intellectually it makes total sense. Here’s a guy running for president, Ryan isn’t. Ryan’s plan, everybody’s talking about. They ask the presidential candidate, “Will you support Ryan’s plan?” “Well, I’m running for president. I gotta have my own. People are gonna expect me to have my own plan. Now, if I’m elected president and I can’t get my own plan, if Ryan’s plan is what comes up here, I’ll sign it. That doesn’t bother me.” And then there’s another question from a TV host this morning on Fox & Friends, “You say if it came to your desk and your plan wasn’t there, you would sign this, but yours is a little different. What’s different?”

PAWLENTY: It is. Well, Congressman Ryan, I give him credit for his leadership. Where’s President Obama on this? Where’s President Obama’s Medicare plan? And the answer is, he doesn’t have one. So at least Congressman Ryan’s exerting the leadership to tackle one of the big challenges facing this country, the out-of-control debt and deficit. We’ve got an absent president on this issue. So I give him credit for that. I’ll have my own plan. It will have some differences from Congressman Ryan’s. But I applaud him for his leadership.

RUSH: And so they wouldn’t let him off the hook here. Well, what are your differences?

PAWLENTY: We’re gonna address Social Security, for one. I’ve been traveling the country, so we’re in Iowa talking about the need to phase out ethanol subsidies. We were down in Florida to talk about the need to reform Social Security to seniors and others, and we’ll also be addressing Medicare like he did, but we’ll be offering some options rather than having it be more of a one-size-fits-all system.

RUSH: He was on the air with us on Monday, he’s opposed to ethanol subsidies, which he told that to people in Iowa. He says he’ll come down here to Florida and tell the seasoned citizens we gotta reform Social Security. So finally he said, Social Security reform is going to be part of his Medicare reform. Now, Obama does have a Medicare plan, one thing I would correct Governor Pawlenty on. Obama does have a Medicare plan. It’s called Obamacare, and it kills Medicare, it goes broke in 13 years and then we won’t have to worry about it anymore.


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