(POLITICO) Jolted by concerns over the wave of Medicare-themed Democratic attacks sparked by Paul Ryan’s vice presidential nomination, House Speaker John Boehner held a Tuesday evening conference call aimed at soothing jittery Republican members, POLITICO has learned.

With lawmakers scattered for the month-long August recess and the vice presidential selection dominating headlines, Boehner sought to address concerns that many of the party’s down-ballot candidates would be left vulnerable to attacks tying them to Ryan’s controversial plan to rework the nation’s entitlement programs.

On the call, Boehner argued that even before Ryan had been placed on the ticket, Democrats had been planning a fall campaign assault centered on attacking Republicans on Medicare. The speaker also explained that Ryan, a 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman and Budget Committee chairman, presented Republicans with their best defense.


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