Posts Tagged Monday

Spouses of the furloughed, to Congress: Take my husband — please. – The Washington Post

Spouses of the furloughed, to Congress: Take them back — please.


By Monica Hesse, Published: October 8

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post – Jeff Gates, who is furloughed from his Smithsonian museum job, asked his wife, Susie Krasnican, to make a sign for him to wear on the Metro when he went to work the four hours before the partial government shutdown occurred last Tuesday. Now, a week later, she has made her own sign.


On Monday morning, Susie Krasnican of Silver Spring walked in on her husband, on the floor, goo-gooing at the cat. “He was using the new toy that our cat is completely fixated on” and making vacant cooing noises that she hadn’t heard since their teenage children were infants.“It’s hard to be sure,” Krasnican says, assessing her husband’s sudden feline communing. “But I feel that the furlough had to have contributed in some way.”


She told him — and here her husband, Jeff Gates, a Smithsonian employee, joyfully remembers the exact wording — she told him: Pre-shutdown, “you used to be so intellectual.”

Nationwide, 800,000 federal employees were affected by the government shutdown, worrying about jobs, back pay, a sense of purpose. Consider the collateral damage: This means there are approximately 800,000 spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates or otherwise affected parties who have spent the past week worrying about furloughed loved ones. Whether they’re all right. Whether they’re watching all of the TiVo’d “Homeland” alone, when they are supposed to wait until tonight. What, exactly, they’re doing.

Congress, take my spouse back. Please.

“He’s taken pretty much all of the CDs off of the shelves,” E.L. Farris, an author in Northern Virginia, says of her husband, a lawyer who is among the shut down. She is chronicling the experience on her blog.

The moving of the CDs is part of a grand plot to arrange them by genre, then alphabetically, then by subgenre. “It’s becoming a very complicated plan,” Farris says. And it is accompanied by a parallel effort to organize their books according to the Dewey Decimal System.

Then there is “his whole escape plan,” she continues. Which is: After nine years of meaning to, Farris’s husband is compiling a first-class disaster preparedness kit. “He can finally find the time to get to Costco,” she explains. And so water bottles are piled in the basement. “You know those crank-up radios? We apparently need to get another one of those. And batteries. We have enough of those to light up the whole town.”

He is growing, she says, a furlough beard.

The furlough beard, that scourge of the furlough spouse. As the shutdown continues, the hair grows on the faces of housebound government employees around the country. It has become a movement, with a name: “Shaveless Shutdown continues to day 7,” a furloughed employee writes on Twitter. “If this doesn’t end soon, my wife may divorce me.”

The furloughed, according to their spouses, are sometimes not changing out of their pajamas until noon. They are eating all of the cereal or buying weird things for the house.

Some also are becoming industrious: finally cleaning out the storage room, picking up the kids from school, baking furlough desserts. Were it not for the uncertainty of it — the vagueness of when this will end, and whether back pay will come through before the next mortgage payment is due — it could be a lovely thing to have a furloughed spouse at home.

“It feels like an endless weekend,” says Krasnican, an artist who works from home. In good ways and bad. Her husband has been able to explore hobbies and pick up day-to-day slack around the house, but the ambiguity of the shutdown’s duration prevents him from tackling longer-term projects.


And then, of course, he’s talking to the cat.

“You’re not normally together as a couple during the day,” says Rob Maher, boyfriend to a furloughed government contractor. Romantic couples are typically sequestered away from each other for nine to 12 hours every day, locked in cubicles or home offices, free to engage in their daily routines without judgment.

Maher, for example, is a comedian; he works nights and then sleeps until 10 or 11 in the morning. His girlfriend, a government contractor, normally is out of the house by 6 a.m. Due to this schedule, their household has acquired a certain rhythm. Maher is typically in charge of housecleaning. But now that his girlfriend is home because of the shutdown, the natural order of the house has been disrupted. She also has begun cleaning. This is causing guilt and confusion. “If she’s cleaning in front of me, wait, does this mean that I should also be cleaning?” Maher asks. “Or did I not do a good enough job cleaning?”

And when he’s on Twitter, doing promotional stuff for his job, does she think he’s slacking off? Does she realize this is part of his work? “She’s at home, stressed about her future, and how am I helping? I’m making snarky comments online.”

Re: the stress. On Tuesday afternoon, House Republican leaders began pushing for debt-limit negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said his party would be open to negotiations if the House passed measures to reopen the government. President Obama called on Congress to vote and end the shutdown “right now.”

After eight full days of shutdown, is an end in sight?

“I definitely have the ideal furlough husband at home,” says Amy Lupold Bair, a social media marketer whose policy-analyst husband has been dominating household chores for the entirety of the shutdown. He is picking out outfits for their fourth-grade daughter, preparing snacks, assisting with homework — tasks that usually fall to Bair, because she works from home. He is assembling items for Goodwill. The boxes of uncertain contents stacked in the garage? He is unpacking them.

The boxes have been there how long?

“Since always!” Bair says. Since the day they bought their house three years ago and stuck them there.

He is bringing coffee and doughnuts to the office staff at their church, for a midday pick-me-up. He has begun to eye the leaf-laden gutters.

“We’ve joked that I’ve needed staffing for a very long time,” Bair says, so it’s been nice to have him at home.

However, she admits. However. “I can sense that he’s starting to get restless.”

Maybe it is time to get back to work.

 Spouses of the furloughed, to Congress: Take my husband — please. – The Washington Post.

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Another massacre, another cry of despair – Chicago Sun-Times

Another massacre, another cry of despair

People hold their hands their heads as they are escorted out building where gunman was reported WashingtNavy Yard WashingtMonday Sept.

People hold their hands to their heads as they are escorted out of the building where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Let’s not rush to conclusions.

Nobody is sure quite yet what led to the massacre on Monday of at least 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

The killer could have been a homegrown terrorist. He could have been a nut.

Yes, that certainly seems like a sensible thing for a newspaper editorial to say.

But wait. We said that just five months ago, on April 15, the day of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Remember that one? Three people were killed and 264 people were injured.

Then how about this:

Monday’s shootings should shake America to its core. This is the moment to commit to ending America’s horrific gun violence. For how much longer will the Second Amendment trump all, leaving us defenseless and despondent? Is the best we can hope for luck — that the next shooting doesn’t hit our school, our street corner or mall?

No, sorry. We said that on Dec. 14, 2012, the day of the massacre at a grade school in Newtown, Conn.

Remember that one? Twenty children and six adults were killed.

So how about this:

Many commentators in the next few days will float the simple-minded but comforting notion that Monday’s massacre was the work of a “bad apple” — a monster produced entirely outside the American cultural mainstream.

That was precisely the cheap, instant analysis offered by many, in fact, when two teenagers went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999. At first, the two teens were portrayed as swastika-wearing racists who belonged to an alienated gang called the Trench Coat Mafia. It would be years before a more accurate profile of the killers — they were chillingly more mainstream — emerged.

But wait yet again. We said all that already, too, two days after the July 20, 2012, massacre in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Remember that one? Twelve people were killed.

And, for that matter, remember Columbine? Twelve students and a teacher were killed.

We could go on, but you get our point and we don’t want to sound flip.

We are angry. And despairing.

The massacres keep coming. The morgues keep filling. The families of the victims keep crying. This president or that president keeps offering soft words of comfort and tough words of resolve.

“Whoever carried out this cowardly act” will be held responsible, President Obama said Monday, as he has said before.

And nothing gets better.

The dead gunman in the Navy Yards shooting has been identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, a former avionics electrician with the U.S. Navy. He reportedly had been arrested at least twice previously: once in Seattle for malicious mischief and once in Fort Worth for discharging a firearm in public.

Got that? He was picked up on a firearms violation.

And yet does anybody doubt that Alexis had no trouble at all obtaining the guns he used in Monday’s shooting?

Our cult of the gun continues. Our gun laws remain a joke. The daily carnage on our streets goes on.

At some point, all this hand-wringing in the wake of every new massacre had better lead to real action — beginning, as we always argue, with stricter gun laws — or please file away this editorial and give it another read in another week or another month or another year.

Every word will still be true and we’ll all still be spitting into the wind.

 Another massacre, another cry of despair – Chicago Sun-Times.


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Diana Nyad Completes 103-Mile Swim From Cuba to Florida – Business Insider

64-Year-Old Diana Nyad Completes 103-Mile Swim From Cuba to Florida


diana nyad

AP Images/Ramona Espinosa

After four unsuccessful attempts, 64-year-old Diana Nyad has completed the 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, according to the BBC.

This makes Nyad the first person to ever complete the trip without a shark cage.

It took 53 hours of non-stop swimming and a team of 35 people on boats beside her but Nyad made it to Key West just before 2 p.m. Monday.

Nyad first attempted the swim in 1978 in a shark cage. In 2011 she attempted the trip twice with no shark cage, but had to stop because of shoulder pain the first time, and jellyfish stings the second. Her last unsuccessful attempt ended in August 2012.

On Monday, with just two miles to go, according to her blog, Nyad stopped briefly in the water to thank her crew. She said:

“I am about to swim my last two miles in the ocean. This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very very glad to be with you. Some on the team are the most intimate friends of my life and some of you I’ve just met. But I’ll tell you something, you’re a special group. You pulled through; you are pros and have a great heart. So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party. Thank you, all of you, thank you for your generosity.”

Congratulations, Diana, that’s one heck of a feat!

Here’s video of her finishing her swim, and addressing her fans:

Diana Nyad Completes 103-Mile Swim From Cuba to Florida – Business Insider.

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Fukushima nuclear plant cleanup may take more than 40 years: IAEA – The Japan Times

Fukushima nuclear plant cleanup may take more than 40 years: IAEA

A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.

“As for the duration of the decommissioning project, this is something that you can define in your plans. But in my view, it will be nearly impossible to ensure the time for decommissioning such a complex facility in less than 30 to 40 years as it is currently established in the road map,” Lentijo said.

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. have predicted the cleanup would take up to 40 years. They still have to develop technology and equipment that can operate under fatally high radiation levels to locate and remove melted fuel. The reactors must be kept cool and the plant must stay safe and stable, and those efforts to ensure safety could slow the process down.

The plant still runs on makeshift equipment and frequently suffers glitches.

Just over the past few weeks, the plant suffered nearly a dozen problems ranging from extensive power outages to leaks of highly radioactive water from underground water pools. On Monday, Tepco had to stop the cooling system for one of the fuel storage pools for safety checks after finding two dead rats inside a transformer box.

Earlier this month, a rat short-circuited a switchboard, causing an extensive outage and cooling loss for up to 30 hours.

Lentijo said water management is “probably the most challenging” task for the plant for now.

The problems have raised concerns about whether the plant, crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, can stay intact throughout a decommissioning process. The problems have prompted officials to compile risk-reduction measures and review decommissioning plans.

Lentijo, an expert on nuclear fuel cycles and waste technology, warned of more problems to come.

“It is expectable in such a complex site, additional incidents will occur as it happened in the nuclear plants under normal operations,” Lentijo said. “It is important to have a very good capability to identify as promptly as possible failures and to establish compensatory measures.”

He said Tepco’s disclosures have been problematic and urged the utility to take extra steps to regain public trust.



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Ruth Marcus: Early voting’s pros and cons – The Washington Post

Ruth Marcus

Ruth Marcus

Opinion Writer

Early voting’s pros and cons

By Ruth Marcus, Published: November 1

The neighbors gathered in Hurricane Sandy’s drizzly aftermath, surveying the damage: tree limbs crushing the roof of a car, telephone poles snapped in half, power lines strewn across the street. It was, for all the unpleasant circumstances, a nice communal moment.

It made me think, oddly enough, about what it is that bothers me about early voting.


More precisely, it reminded me about what I like about Election Day — the neighborly lines at the local elementary school, the sense of common purpose, the we’re-all-in-this-together ritual of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. I like wearing my corny “I voted” sticker on Election Day. I like seeing yours.

Early voting is the civic manifestation of the modern age: fragmented, individualistic and solitary. Once we all saw the same television show at the same time; now, we watch “Modern Family” whenever it is most convenient. We withdraw our cash from a machine when we need it, rather than racing to the bank before it closes. We scan our groceries as we shop and check out on our own.

Like early voting, these are conveniences of modern life. And we are, on balance, better off for the advent of early voting as much as for the ATM and DVR. Not everyone can make it to the polls on Election Day. Not everyone can afford to be late to work in the event of long lines.

In what early voting expert Paul Gronke of Reed College has termed a “quiet revolution” in American politics, the country no longer has Election Day — we have Election Month.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow in-person early voting, beginning, on average, 22 days before the election.

In addition, and almost entirely overlapping, 27 states plus the District have no-excuse absentee voting. Two states — Washington and Oregon — conduct elections entirely by mail.

The result has been a surge in early voting — to 30 percent of voters in 2008. Michael McDonald of George Mason University predicts that this share could rise to 35 percent this year; several states, including Maryland, Louisiana, Iowa and Montana, have already exceeded their 2008 numbers. In battleground states where both parties have been pushing early voting, well over half the vote could come in early.

Initial studies raised questions about whether early voting increased turnout or simply shifted the time that voters cast their ballots. But given candidates’ emphasis on early voters in recent elections — the Obama campaign targeted them in 2008 and the Romney campaign is trying to catch up to Democrats this year — it seems likely that early voting is boosting turnout.

I would support early voting even if it didn’t, for the same reason that I support laws requiring restaurants to post calorie counts even without conclusive evidence that such information helps reduce obesity levels. Consumers should have access to nutrition information to consider as they wish. Voters should be able to turn up early if that is convenient for them.

Some states do begin their early voting disconcertingly early — up to 45 days before the election.

Does too-early voting matter, potentially depriving voters of information that could have affected their decision?

Probably not much this year, when so many voters were so settled on their choices. In addition, most early voters, even in truly early-bird states, wait until close to Election Day. The earliest among them are probably the most energized partisans, unlikely to be swayed by new information.

If it were up to me, I would condense the early voting time to perhaps two weeks out, and also rejigger the presidential debate calendar so that the debates take place before most early voting starts.

This year, by the time the final debate took place on Oct. 22, early voting had commenced in all but five of the states that permit it, although in some cases just barely. That’s unfortunate. Voting on the basis of more information is better than voting on the basis of less.

Early voting has begun in my state, Maryland, and I considered taking advantage of it — now, that is, that we have our power back. But I’ve decided to hold off until Election Day, lines and all. I can swap Sandy stories with my neighbors while I wait, and feel part of the quadrennial ritual, however anachronistic.

 Ruth Marcus: Early voting’s pros and cons – The Washington Post.


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Hire Of Local Moron Gives Nation Hope For Employment | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Hire Of Local Moron Gives Nation Hope For Employment

OCTOBER 8, 2012  

PHOENIX—Citizens across the United States are expressing renewed hopes for a nationwide economic recovery following news that local resident and complete moron Ron Freizczky has found work, sources confirmed Monday. “They hired that guy…as a consultant?” Arizona man Bob Gunderbladt said of the 27-year-old dullard, remarking that if a dumb shit like that can get a decent job, anyone can. “The man can’t find his ass with both hands, but—wow, I guess things are really looking up. This country is finally starting to feel like America again.” Reached for comment, leading economists agreed that if more goddamn idiots like Freizczky get jobs that come with financial responsibility, conditions will indeed return to where they were just before the Great Recession.

 Hire Of Local Moron Gives Nation Hope For Employment | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.


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GOP Convention To Feature Strong Lineup Of Conservative Women Listeners | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source


GOP Convention To Feature Strong Lineup Of Conservative Women Listeners

AUGUST 27, 2012  

TAMPA, FL—On the eve of the Republican National Convention, GOP officials have announced that the three-day event will feature a solid, all-star lineup of the party’s most prominent female listeners. “A veritable who’s who of conservative women are scheduled to stand on the convention floor and listen attentively to what each male speaker has to say about the major issues facing our country,” RNC communications director Sean Spicer said Monday, confirming that an impressive variety of blond, smiling women with perfectly maintained hair and jewelry will be on prominent display and seated near television cameras. “I would say this is one of the most impressive rosters of dead-silent female Republicans wearing nice dresses that we’ve ever had at the convention.” Spicer also reassured convention-goers that the solid roster of women listeners had all been informed not to get in the way too much and, if possible, to show slightly more cleavage.

 GOP Convention To Feature Strong Lineup Of Conservative Women Listeners | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.


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Romney May Be Nominated Early –


The Caucus - The Politics and Government blog of The New York Times


August 23, 2012

Romney May Be Nominated Early



1:02 a.m. | Updated TAMPA, Fla. – Mitt Romney’s quest to formally win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination is coming two days earlier than expected.

Mr. Romney will be elevated as the party’s standard bearer on Monday – not Wednesday as previously expected – to keep the official business of the roll call delegate vote from competing with broader themes of introducing Mr. Romney. Officials also are keeping an eye on a potential threat from Tropical Storm Isaac and considering concerns about a possible disruption from Ron Paul supporters at the Republican National Convention next week.

It is a change in the script from previous conventions, where the formal nomination usually takes place on the second to last night of the convention. It is a formality, and Mr. Romney will still deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday evening, but the change is significant and an effort to keep the convention focused tightly on Mr. Romney.

“The roll call will take place on Monday,” said Jim Dyke, a convention spokesman, who dismissed suggestions that the schedule had abruptly changed. “We will go through the roll call in alphabetical order all the way through.”

Russ Schriefer, a top strategist for the Romney campaign who is overseeing convention planning, said the roll call vote will be timed for Mr. Romney to formally clinch the nomination when the network news programs begin their broadcasts on Monday evening.

“They can immediately go to Mitt Romney who went over the top in the vote,” Mr. Schriefer said. “We want to get it out of the way and not deal with it on Tuesday or Wednesday.”

The delegates to the convention are staying across the sprawling Tampa Bay area. Convention organizers were concerned that delegates would not be at the convention during the roll call vote, so officials said they decided to compress the vote into a short time period on Monday.

As soon as Mr. Romney officially becomes the party’s presidential nominee, he can have access to the general election money he has spent months raising, which puts him on the cusp of tapping into a significant financial advantage for the final two months of the race. Mr. Schriefer said that Mr. Romney would not begin accepting general election money until Thursday.

But next week’s schedule, according to discussions among party officials here, has as much to do with a desire to keep an orderly convention as it does with Isaac, the storm expected to develop into a hurricane as it moves toward Florida. The campaign had hoped that the television networks would cover the convention on Monday because Ann Romney is delivering her marquee speech that night, but so far the networks have declined. She is also expected to speak later in the week.

Some supporters of Mr. Paul also have been pushing to make their voices heard during the roll call vote. Mr. Paul, the libertarian Texas congressman whose presidential bid fell short, won a majority of delegates from Iowa, Minnesota and Nevada, but not enough state delegations to require that his name be placed into nomination.

While Mr. Paul’s advisers have worked behind the scenes with the Romney campaign for months, several supporters have signaled their interest in making their admiration known for Mr. Paul on the convention floor. The Romney campaign has worked through most of the concerns, but still preferred officially calling the roll of delegates on Monday, when television networks were not planning to broadcast the convention to diminish the potential for any fireworks.

Several Republican officials said scheduling the roll call on Monday allowed Mr. Romney to avoid drawing attention to two potential problems: from Mr. Paul’s supporters and the winds and rain of Isaac. By the time Mr. Romney arrives here in Tampa, aides hope both challenges will have blown over.

 Romney May Be Nominated Early –


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Hurricane Could Strike RNC | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices


Hurricane Could Strike RNC

AUGUST 22, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac, which is currently gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean, is expected to become a hurricane in the next several days and could strike Florida on Monday, when the Republican National Convention opens in Tampa. What do you think?

They’ll be fine so long as the mayor sends the city’s sinners and sodomites up north to lure the storm’s wrath.

Allen Siguardsson

I wouldn’t be surprised if this hurricane was just a plot concocted by the liberal mainstream meteorologists.

Jane Campion
Leather Parts Matcher

It’s going to be a big moment when Mitt stares up at the sky in the driving rain, screaming, ‘Nothing can stop me! Not even you, goddammit!’

Lynda Platkowski
Systems Analyst

 Hurricane Could Strike RNC | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices.


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Medicare Rises as Prime Election Issue –



Medicare Rises as Prime Election Issue

Published: August 13, 2012


<nyt_text><nyt_correction_top>TAMPA, Fla. — With Mitt Romney’s selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan as his running mate, Florida quickly emerged on Monday as a critical test of the nationwide Republican gamble that concerns over the mounting federal debt can blunt potent Democratic attacks on conservative proposals to revamp Medicare.


As Mr. Romney campaigned through Florida on Monday, Democrats greeted him with a barrage of assaults, including a Web advertisement featuring worried elderly voters in this battleground state. The campaign took on a more heated air as President Obama suggested in Iowa that the Republican ticket would “end Medicare as we know it,” a warning echoed in North Carolina by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Assailing proposed changes to the retiree health plan is a time-tested line of attack, nowhere more so than here in Florida, where voters 65 and older made up 22 percent of the electorate in the 2008 presidential election. Polls show that a majority of elderly voters nationally oppose changes in Medicare or Social Security, which Mr. Ryan in the past has also proposed altering.

The implications extend beyond Florida. Elderly voters are significant forces in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia and Pennsylvania, all states that could help determine the outcome of the election.

Aides to Mr. Obama said they would focus on older voters in those states by spotlighting Mr. Ryan’s proposal, broadly endorsed by Mr. Romney, to make Medicare a choice between private insurance and traditional coverage in the belief that more competition would drive down costs and improve care. Democrats say the plan, under which retirees would get a set amount of money from the government each year to purchase insurance coverage, would lead to higher costs and lower quality care for many retirees.

“I think it should be left alone,” said Lee Berkowitz, 87, a Democrat in North Hollywood, Fla., who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 but said he has not decided whom to support in November.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan signaled that they intended to go on the offensive, challenging the assumption that Republicans were better off playing down the issue. They are gambling that anxiety about deficits, the influence of the Tea Party movement and changing demographics will give them a chance to convince voters that the time has come to confront the rapidly mounting costs of sustaining entitlement programs. Mr. Ryan is scheduled to visit Florida this month.

“Every even-numbered year in Florida, seniors are accustomed to Mediscare tactics; that’s what Democrats do,” said Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney. “The fact is, we’re going to go on offense here. Because the president has raided the Medicare trust fund to the tune of $716 billion to pay for a massive expansion of government known as Obamacare.”

“There won’t be a single senior citizen in Florida who won’t know that by November,” he said.

Republican candidates have gained experience in campaigns where Democrats have focused on Mr. Ryan’s Medicare proposal — in Congressional races in Nevada and New York — and have developed what they think is an effective way to counter it. That strategy includes assailing Mr. Obama’s health care plan, and noting that it was paid for in part by taking over $700 billion from Medicare.

“The president’s idea, for instance, for Medicare was to cut it by $700 billion,” Mr. Romney said at a rally in St. Augustine. “That’s not the right answer. We want to make sure we preserve and protect Medicare.”

Key to a push-back, Republican officials said, is using elderly surrogates — like a candidate’s parents — to counter the idea that the party’s approach is heartless or would leave retirees worse off.

Mr. Ryan has already begun noting that his mother, a Medicare recipient, lives in southern Florida.

Mr. Romney’s advisers argued that Mr. Ryan’s proposal was nuanced enough, since it would not apply to anyone currently on, or soon to go on, Medicare, to partly blunt Mr. Obama’s attacks.

For all that, even Republicans said the choice of Mr. Ryan had not made Mr. Romney’s task in Florida any easier, particularly because he passed over Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, for the slot. “Ryan Could Hurt Romney in Florida,” read the banner headline on Sunday in The Miami Herald.

“It puts the state in play,” said Joseph Gaylord, a Republican consultant who lives here. “Rubio would have been the best candidate.”

And in Des Moines, on his first solo outing as a member of the ticket, Mr. Ryan was heckled on the issue as he tried to speak at the Iowa State Fair, an indication of the intensity of the battle ahead for him.

Still, Mr. Gaylord said: “It’s a legitimate argument if it’s an argument that goes unanswered. But you go on the offensive on it — the truth is, it’s not going to affect any current seniors — and get that into every discussion about health care you have.”

Democrats said the opening they saw on the issue was reflected in the aggressive way they had moved to hang Mr. Ryan’s budget over Mr. Romney’s candidacy.

“It’s pretty powerful,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who is also head of the Democratic National Committee. “We have the largest population of seniors in the country. If we go with the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, you are going to jeopardize the lives of seniors, and you are going to jeopardize the Florida economy.”

The key question, analysts said, is whether Mr. Ryan’s argument about runaway federal spending and deficits would appeal to younger voters who might be worried that at the current trajectory, Medicare will soon become financially unsustainable or a giant burden on future generations.

“The truth is we simply cannot simply continue to pretend like a Medicare on track to go bankrupt at some point is acceptable,” Mr. Romney said at a news conference in Miami. “We must take action to make sure that we can save Medicare for coming generations.”

Brad Coker, the managing director of the Mason-Dixon poll, said Republicans might be helped by the unpopularity of Mr. Obama’s health care law.

“This will be an interesting test,” Mr. Coker said. “Medicare on its own has always been a powerful issue with the Democrats. This is the first time you test Medicare as an issue against the health care reform.”

The elderly population in Florida is more diverse than it was in the days of Democratic snowbirds flocking here from Brooklyn and the Bronx: There are more people who have moved from states like Iowa and Georgia, and are more likely to be Republicans and, more significantly, affluent.

“The senior vote in Florida is a lot more complicated than it used to be,” said Matthew T. Corrigan, a political scientist at the University of North Florida. “What Ryan does is he helps in places where you have really conservative seniors — the Tea Party seniors if you will.”

Andrew Kohut, the director of the Pew Research Center, said national polls he had conducted had shown this was an issue of great concern for elderly voters. “If ever there was an issue that threatens the G.O.P.’s headlock on the senior vote, this is it,” he said.

In interviews, some voters recoiled at the idea of changing the Medicare program immediately, though many said they were open to changes for future recipients.

“I’d be strongly opposed to the idea if it were to affect me,” Phil English, 66, a retired high school teacher, said in Sun City, Ariz. “It’s not being selfish, but we’ve worked for that, and we’ve planned for it.”

In Pennsylvania, a state that Mr. Romney is hoping to put in play, Jennie Fiorenza, 93, a retired bookbinder, spoke warmly of a program that has become a critical part of her life.

“I think Medicare is wonderful, and I couldn’t do without it,” Ms. Fiorenza said.

 Medicare Rises as Prime Election Issue –


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musings from a musical mind

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Your Stories, My Stories, Our Stories


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Finishing Lifes Race Strong

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38 Years

Perspective from the middle ages of life


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Chastisement 2014

He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork

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