In public, Paul Ryan’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) have been largely economic ones, from that viral video of him arguing to the president in person that the plan merely hides spending and doesn’t cut it, to his speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he argued, falsely, that the plan would raid Medicare. But in a conference call with evangelical voters on Sunday he changed tack dramatically, claiming a second Obama term would compromise “those Judeo-Christian values that made us a great nation in the first place.”
The telephone town hall with the Faith and Freedom Coalition wasn’t exactly a secret. Politico, NBC, and Buzzfeed have all posted stories on it, and Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel tweeted about it, not to mention the fact that it drew thousands of participants. But as Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller pointed out, the call “did not appear on his public schedule,” which suggests the campaign didn’t want to make it a media event.
That could be because, as Politico’s Juanna Summers pointed out, the remarks “veer sharply from the tone he’s taken on the trail during the campaign’s closing days,” which has focused more on bipartisanship and problem solving. A Romney-Ryan spokesman told NBC, “he was talking about issues like religious liberty and Obamacare — topics he has mentioned frequently during the campaign.” Ryan’s opposition to Obamacare’s coverage of birth control is something he’s never made a secret. But calling the president a threat to people’s very religious values is the kind of hyperventilating paranoia that a candidate should maybe stay away from here in the waning days of the campaign.