Could Chris Christie Come To Paul Ryan’s Defense? [AUDIO]
Democrats couldn't wait to pounce on GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan's proposals to overhaul Medicare and privatize social security.
Ryan could have an ally in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie because Ryan's argument for his changes is remarkably similar to the one Christie made as he pushed to reform the Garden State's public employee pension and health benefits systems.
"There a lot of good parallels between what went on with the state's pensions and what's going on with social security and Medicare," explains Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. "In both cases we have over-promised benefits and we're not really willing to pay for them."
Most politicians over the last several decades have considered it political suicide to make any suggestions that social security benefits or Medicare should be cut back says Woolley because the backlash is severe.
Woolley says, "Could Christie talk about that unlike other people? It's a good question. He certainly has a touch…The big difference between the state's pensions and Medicare is in state pensions only public workers, about 22% of the population is tied into that in New Jersey. When you start talking about social security or Medicare it's everybody."
Ryan says the reason behind his Medicare plan is to slow growing costs and keep the program more affordable with a shift to private insurance plans that opponents claim could saddle future retirees with thousands of dollars a year in additional bills.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney defends Ryan's Medicare proposal saying that he and Ryan both want to, "preserve and protect Medicare."
Woolley says, "If anybody could make the case it's probably Chris Christie because he make the parallel between reform in New Jersey and the need for reform at the national level."