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Rep. Steve Israel, a Dix Hills Democrat and leader of his party's effort to win back control of the U.S. House, all but thanked Mitt Romney today for picking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate.
Ryan's budget approved by the GOP-controlled House turns Medicare into a voucher program while preserving the Bush tax cuts for millionaires, Israel said. That feeds, he said, right into the line Democrats have been using to describe their differences with Republicans: "Medicare vs. Millionaires."
"That gave us the debate we wanted," Israel told reporters at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington this morning. "Paul Ryan has been a down-ballot disaster."
Israel certainly hopes so. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Israel is in charge of reversing the Democrats' massive losses in the House in 2010 - a net drop of more than 60 seats. He seeking to win at least 25 seats back in this year's election. It is, most analysts say, an uphill battle.
New York is its own battleground in that effort, with vigorous races in eight toss up or close races - including the replay of Randy Altschuler v Tim Bishop on Long Island's East End.
To achieve his goal, Israel is counting on ads in competitive races - he said the DCCC had reserved TV air time for $61 million - and a vigorous ground game of phone calls, door knocks and mail, Republican mistakes - and the fight over Medicare.