For one day at least, the eyes of the political nation will be on West Virginia.
Today, the Mountain State hosts Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president in 2012, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a progressive icon and an outspoken critic of Wall Street. Both are in West Virginia to campaign for their party’s candidate to replace the retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller in the U.S. Senate.
Ryan and Warren are on the short list of names tossed about as possible presidential candidates in 2016. Warren has repeatedly said that she is not running for president, but her denials are always couched in the present tense, as in, she is not currently running for president.
Ryan will join Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., at a business roundtable at 12:30 p.m. at the Charleston Marriott.
On the other side of the state, Warren will campaign with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat, at 2 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown.
Ryan and Capito will meet with small-business owners, members of the business community and job seekers. The event is billed as a “conversation about overcoming President Obama’s job-killing policies and getting West Virginians to work.”
Tennant will use her rally with Warren to launch a statewide education tour. She will push for a bill sponsored by Warren that would lower interest rates on student loans in an attempt to make college more affordable.
Both campaigns have used the other’s celebrity guests as an opportunity to attack.
Capito’s campaign has attacked Warren for her positions in favor of EPA regulations to combat global warming and her support for stricter gun laws.
“Natalie Tennant’s association with Obama-liberal Elizabeth Warren makes it clear that Tennant will side with President Obama and his anti-coal allies over hard working West Virginians,” Amy Graham, a Capito spokeswoman, said in an email.
Tennant’s campaign has countered that she strongly disagrees with Warren on EPA regulations and guns, but that she is with Warren on issues like regulating Wall Street closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.
Warren was the driving force behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the big pieces of reform passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
“This campaign is a clear choice between the West Virginia values I represent and the Wall Street dollars Congresswoman Capito represents,” Tennant said in an email.
Tennant has also attacked Ryan’s budgets and Capito’s support for them.
Ryan’s budgets would sharply cut safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Tennant has focused on the drastic changes to Medicare under the Ryan budgets.
For people currently under 55, the most recent Ryan budget would turn Medicare into a premium support program, sometimes referred to as a voucher system, in which people would get subsidies to buy private insurance, rather than government-paid health care.
The Capito campaign has countered by pointing out that there would be no change for current and soon-to-be seniors and saying that the Ryan plan would help keep Medicare viable.
Reach David Gutman at email@example.com or 304-348-5119.