Dick Cheney “worships” Paul Ryan

The man who famously said that deficits don't matter fawns over the GOP's new face of harsh budget cuts

Topics: Paul Ryan, R-Wis., War Room, Dick Cheney,

Dick Cheney "worships" Paul RyanCong. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) arrives for his town hall meeting about his Federal budget plan,Thursday April 28, 2011 at the Waterford Village Hall. in "Waterford, Wis. (AP Photo/The Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)(Credit: AP)

During a rare public appearance in Houston Wednesday, Dick Cheney expressed his feelings about Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman whose budget blueprint — which calls for turning Medicare into a voucher program — has become a lightning rod for controversy.

“I worship the ground the Paul Ryan walks on,” said the former vice president, Politico noted via the Houston Chronicle.

Cheney made the comment while proclaiming the need to combat the national debt. That may seem an odd sentiment to those who remember that in 2002 he reportedly told then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, “deficits don’t matter.

Meanwhile, the object of Cheney’s affection is, of course, the current of face of the GOP’s version of deficit hawkishness — one that Democrats hope to make a liability for Republicans in 2012. Despite a united effort by Republicans in the Senate Wednesday to rally around Ryan’s proposal, a number of party members have called the proposal too extreme, perhaps fearing that backing it could carry serious electoral consequences.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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