Romney and Ryan Face Tough Weekend of TV Interviews

Both Republican candidates were forced to defend their seemingly changing positions on health care reform and defense spending during high-profile TV interviews

The hubbub surrounding the political conventions may have died down after the Democrats wrapped on Thursday in Charlotte, but this weekend saw things heating up for the two men on the GOP’s ticket.

With President Barack Obama embracing and campaigning on his Affordable Care Act, Mitt Romney was on Meet the Press Sunday trying to dispel critics’ notions that his health care reforms will harm young and sick people. In response to a question from David Gregory, Romney said, “I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like,” according to an excerpt in Time

Romney’s campaign has been trying hard to clarify the candidate’s apparently contradictory remarks.

It’s not the first time Romney has said he’d help cover folks with pre-existing conditions, but it is the first time he’s said he “likes” some elements of “Obamacare” -- a challenging contradiction for a man who has promised to repeal the plan on day one.

The issue remains a tough one for the Republican candidate, who as governor of Massachusetts helped pass a similar program in the state.

Meanwhile, things got heated for vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan as well.

CBS News' Norah O'Donnell held him accountable for criticizing the president for defense spending cuts after he too supported them. The controversial cuts were back on the front burner on Sunday, after Romney mentioned the topic during his Meet the Press appearance, saying that Republicans made a mistake when they agreed to a debt ceiling deal that would reduce defense spending by $500 billion over the next decade.

O'Donnell grilled Ryan, "He's talking about you because you voted for those cuts, correct?"

Ryan said he was only trying to find "common ground" with the Democrats to reduce the budget deficit. But O’Donnell shot back, using Ryan’s own words to contradict his claims repeatedly during the interview. 

With just under two months until the election, there’s no doubt Romney and Ryan would have preferred playing offense rather than defense during their high-profile interviews this weekend.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and iVillage’s Chief Election News Blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.

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