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Restructuring and cutting social safety net programs proves to be a tough sell at home

Jeffrey Phelps / AP

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks during a listening session, April, 26, 2011 at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis. The Republican plan to fundamentally restructure Medicare and cut social safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid has at times been a raucously tough sell as its supporters head home and meet with their constituents, including Democrats organized against them. Even the architect of the plan, Ryan, has been booed, though many of those attending four meetings Tuesday in his home state of Wisconsin were supportive.

Jeffrey Phelps / AP

Protesters are seen outside where U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks during a listening session on Tuesday at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis.

WTMJ-TV and JSOnline.com reports:
KENOSHA, Wis. – Protesters waited for Congressman Paul Ryan outside a listening session at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, many of them were seniors holding preprinted signs that read ‘Hands Off My Medicare.’

They chanted, “Ryan stop lying!” There was capacity crowd inside the school’s Madrigrana Auditorium. “Do not renew the Bush tax credit for the wealthy,” one man said during the public comment period, even giving out his phone number in front of everyone. “I’ll debate these issues with you anytime, just call me.” At times, the Janesville Republican sounded more like a referee than a lawmaker.

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Taking his controversial plan to reform Medicare to town hall meetings in his home state of Wisconsin, Republican budget hawk Paul Ryan faced a potential political backlash in his own backyard. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports.