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Special Report

How will Obama approach Ryan Medicare plan?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: We are back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He hasn't only not done it, when the Republicans have attempted to propose a serious plan, the Ryan plan and the House had passed it, he demagogued it. He had a speech at American University where he was supposed to roll out -- it was advertisers rolling out his plan on entitlements. And he didn't have anything of the sort. It was an attack entirely on the Ryan -- then he called it un-American, incidentally, with Ryan as a guest sitting in the front row mute. So that is how he has handled entitlements.

I think the idea of the Democrats, if you saw the ad that you showed early in the show, it's got seniors in Florida saying he wants to privatize he wants to take it away. It is so dishonest because they cannot say openly it will take away or privatize the Medicare of seniors today because that is not true. So they show seniors who are saying what is not true -- that it's going to hurt them or at least implying that it's going to hurt them as a way to give the impression that actually the Ryan plan is going to affect seniors. Nobody over the age of 55 is going to be affected.  The Republicans have to get that out right away or they're going to lose on this.

BAIER: AEI in fact put out a basically bullet points today of facts, and we fact checked it, about this plan. And it says this, Kirsten, no one over 55 affected. Fee for service still available, in other words premium support as an option but traditional Medicare would still be available, and Medicare funding growing at the same rate as President Obama's proposal.  Those are facts about the Ryan plan that often don't get talked about.

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: It will affect old people, they're just not old right now.  So they will eventually be old.

BAIER: Currently they're young people.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: I will eventually be an old person who will need Medicare.

BAIER: You understand how silly that sounds.

POWERS: It's not silly, actually.

BAIER: It's only for people under 55.

POWERS: The point is, it's a political point, because it's the old people who are voting right now. That's what they are concerned about.

BAIER: Of course.
POWERS: But to pretend it's never going to affect old people, it will affect old people. But just listen to me. I think that that's OK, because what Ryan said what was interesting where he referred to "my generation." For Gen-X-ers, they're the first generation that's always worried, am I going to have coverage? And so he is speaking to something that really resonates. And I think that people his age, you know, and younger, are probably willing to hear this argument. And so for people who are older who don't want any changes, they want things to just to stay the same, things will stay the same. And then he needs to appeal to the younger people and really explain, you are probably not going to get anything unless we do something, listen to my plan. And Obama doesn't have anything like that to offer.

BAIER: Pat, Paul Ryan is going to Florida to do that very thing this week.

PAT BUCHANAN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think what he ought to do is he ought to get his position down cold. You mentioned the three points, or the four point what is he is going to do, what he is not going to do. I would say Medicare is going to be saved but ObamaCare is going to the chopping block. And I would get away from this argument as soon as they can. I don't think the Republicans want this campaign based on adjudicating Medicare and what is coming and vouchers and the rest of it. They've got a winning hand, I think.

BAIER: So do you think America is ready for this big conversation on entitlement reform?

BUCHANAN: I think they are ready but I would wait to have that in the spring after you've got the White House. I would talk generally entitlement reform. But to get into an argument on details of Medicare, will do two things. Some seniors will be frightened down there, and some will be demoralized with all of this talk. That's what Axelrod and these fellows want to talk about.

BAIER: You know that you hear out there that people are tired of I'm going to do x, y, and z in my first term and it never happens. So why not get specific?

BUCHANAN: Look, you've got the three points out of there from AEI, this is one issue on which I agree with AEI. They can go with this on their Medicare position. He ought to get his answer down cold and then move on.

BAIER: OK, that's it for panel. We'll be back to the topic I'm sure.  Stay tuned for some more reaction of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate.

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