Hoping to define vice presidential pick Paul Ryan early with liberal talking points, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander painted the Wisconsin congressman as "the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander began his report by offering this description of Ryan: "To Republicans, Ryan is viewed as a conservative, a courageous and visionary conservative. To Democrats, his views are seen as extreme." At the top of the show, co-host Matt Lauer only saw problems for Republicans and advantages for Democrats with the Ryan pick: "Will Ryan's budget plan hurt the ticket? And how is President Obama using the choice to his own advantage?"
Wrapping up his report, Alexander declared: "Already, Matt, Democrats are pouncing on this pick, saying that Paul Ryan's plans threaten the future of Medicare, while the Republicans are saying the Republican plan is the only way to save Medicare."
Here is a full transcript of Alexander's August 13 report:
7:00AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: Divide and conquer. Mitt Romney and his newly-tagged running mate Paul Ryan head to different parts of the country today. Was Romney's decision a game changer? Will Ryan's budget plan hurt the ticket? And how is President Obama using the choice to his own advantage? We'll talk to senior advisers from both sides.
7:02AM ET SEGMENT:
LAUER: Obviously the big news over the weekend was on the political front. Mitt Romney choosing his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. How will that impact the campaign? Let's get right to it. Peter Alexander is with the Romney campaign in St. Augustine. Peter, good morning to you.
PETER ALEXANDER: Matt, good morning to you and welcome back to New York City. Here in Florida, Mitt Romney will be arriving shortly, but he made big headlines over the course of this weekend with his vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan. To Republicans, Ryan is viewed as a conservative, a courageous and visionary conservative. To Democrats, his views are seen as extreme. Ryan today will be competing with President Obama. They host dueling rallies in Iowa. Romney is here in Florida, where this new pick could really help set the terms of the debate going forward. For the new vice presidential pick Paul Ryan, back in Wisconsin alongside Mitt Romney, it was a heroic and emotional homecoming Sunday night.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Running With Ryan; Stage Set for November With Romney's VP Pick]
PAUL RYAN: Thank you, Wisconsin. It is good to be home.
ALEXANDER: Relishing his new role as Romney's chief advocate, Ryan blasted the President's record on the economy and promised an inspiring alternative.
RYAN: The worst economic recovery in 70 years, the largest deficits and the biggest government since World War II. Nearly one in six Americans are in poverty today. It's the highest rate in a generation. You know what? We're not going to take that!
ALEXANDER: Less than 100 miles away in Chicago, President Obama weighed in on Romney's running mate for the first time, criticizing Ryan's policies but praising the man.
BARACK OBAMA: I want to congratulate [booing] – no, no, no, no. Look, I want to congratulate Congressman Ryan. I know him. I welcome him to the race. Congressman Ryan is a decent man. He is a family man. He's an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney's vision, but it's a vision that I fundamentally disagree with.
ALEXANDER: The selection of Ryan, the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare, has set a clear contrast between the two tickets. On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Romney insisted his policies will govern the administration.
MITT ROMNEY: Obviously I have to make the final call on important decisions. But this is a man who's dedicated the last 14 years working in Washington in ways that are not highly partisan or political but instead are focused on what he thinks the right course is for America.
ALEXANDER: After their Wisconsin rally, the two candidates ended their whirlwind weekend by literally heading in opposite directions, Romney flying here to Florida, Ryan to Iowa. Earlier, the two had joked about how their busy campaign schedules could keep them apart for quite sometime.
ROMNEY: Will we ever get a chance to campaign together? Or is that like, we've now experienced-
RYAN: Will that ever happen again?
ROMNEY: Yeah, never see him until inauguration.
ALEXANDER: They definitely have a good personal chemistry together, as we've witnessed over the last two days, but Ryan and Romney will likely not be together again until a couple weeks from now, at the Republican national convention. But here in Florida, where there are a lot of seniors, one of the key issues going forward is going to be the issue of the future of Medicare. Already, Matt, Democrats are pouncing on this pick, saying that Paul Ryan's plans threaten the future of Medicare, while the Republicans are saying the Republican plan is the only way to save Medicare.
LAUER: Alright. Peter Alexander in St. Augustine, Florida this morning. Peter, as always, thank you very much.