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.
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.