Erskine Bowles — of the President’s own deficit commission — on Paul Ryan, September of last year.

I wonder if he’ll come out just as strongly now that Ryan’s the veep candidate?

Hat tip, Ed Morrissey, who adds:

Remember this when you start to hear the Obama campaign rip the Ryan budget as an unserious attempt to kill Medicare and allow rich people to feast on the bones of the poor. Bowles has his own issues with Ryan’s plan (which at one point in the video below he calls “radical”), but Bowles acknowledges this as a good-faith effort to fix the structural crisis in American finances. That’s more respect than Bowles gave Obama’s budget, which he noted got voted down in the Senate 97-0, and for good reason.

I suspect there’s some bad blood between Bowles and the President. Obama set up the commission, then treated it like a redheaded stepchild as soon as it produced any results. That’s as serious as Obama ever got about deficit reduction. That’s also why Team Obama will do what it can to paint Ryan with the same brush they used on Sarah Palin.

But Palin rallied the base by being brash and in-you-face — it was easy to make her seem like a scary ideologue. Paul Ryan comes across like the bright and earnest young financial planner you brought into your own living room to help with your retirement accounts.

And in a sense, that’s exactly what’s happened. The leftwing smear machine is going to have a much tougher time than it did four years ago.