If you want to know how the choice of Paul Ryan as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate is playing around the country, you only have to look to how his House colleagues are reacting, especially those in difficult races.

“Linda McMahon will never support a budget that cuts Medicare,” said Corry Bliss, a spokesman for the leading Republican contender in a race for one of Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seats.

McMahon’s camp was reacting to a statement sent out by Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat running for the same Senate seat, that asked, “Mitt Romney Picks Paul Ryan – Does Linda McMahon?” [...]

Even before Ryan’s selection, Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., Rick Crawford, R-Ark., were urging older voters in their districts not to fear the Ryan plan, depicting it as little more than a guide with no binding legal authority, and noting, encouragingly, that Democrats in the Senate simply won’t pass it.

Still, Buerkle’s opponent – former Rep. Dan Maffei, whom she defeated narrowly in 2010 – jumped Saturday on Ryan’s selection to paint the “Ryan-Buerkle vision” for America as one in which the middle-class pays higher taxes and “don’t have Medicare as we know it, and women don’t have right to life saving health care.”

You’re seeing this up and down the board. Every Democratic candidate with half a chance in November is yoking their opponent to Paul Ryan at every opportunity. They’re basically running the Kathy Hochul strategy. She won a R+6 district in upstate New York almost entirely on the 2011 Ryan budget, particularly Medicare. Fellow New Yorker Steve Israel runs the DCCC, and he’s clearly advised his candidates to use that blueprint. And Republicans are nervous about it.

In this context, the attempt to turn the tables and claim that the Democrats, actually, cut $700 billion from Medicare, is about as good an angle as Republicans have. The fact that those cuts are in the Ryan budget makes it ring a little hollow, but this talking point was enough in 2010. That was before practically every Republican in the House voted twice for a budget ending Medicare as we know it, however.

I mean, when you have Rick Scott and Rick Perry bobbing and weaving on this, you know it’s a toxic policy. These aren’t exactly mushy moderates.

CAVUTO: Governor Scott, do you support what Paul Ryan wants to do? On this issue particularly in Florida, are you open to the switching to the private voucher system Paul Ryan wants for medicare recipients down the road?

SCOTT: Let’s all remember, it is going to be Governor Romney’s plan, he’ll decide what his plan is for Medicare. …. I am going to support a plan to make sure our Medicare recipients, we have 3.3 million of them in Florida, I’m going to make sure they continue to get care. They paid into the system, and we have to make sure we keep that system going. [...]

CAVUTO: You mentioned, Governor Perry, that 26, 29 year-olds, they should be given an opportunity to have something down the road for them. Would that be the cutoff age, then, that if you are that young then you should be veering toward a different type of a system? Because Paul Ryan has his much older than that, in the 40s right now.

PERRY: We are going to have the conversation and the idea that we will draw up a piece of legislation in August of 2012 is not correct. We are not going to do that. Let’s have the conversation though and start a dialogue between the people of this country.

While this still means that the Ryan selection was a “bold” pick, it doesn’t exactly make it a good one.