Why is this important? Erskine Bowles has a long pedigree as a Democratic budget thinker — and presidential adviser. When Barack Obama needed to pick the co-chair for his deficit committee, which he roundly ignored in the end, he chose Bowles to represent his side on the panel. Bowles served as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, and earlier ran the Small Business Administration for Clinton. Ezra Klein predicted on Friday that Bowles would be the front-runner for Tim Geithner’s job at Treasury if Obama wins a second term.

Bear in mind this while you watch this clip, found by our good friend Morgen Richmond over the weekend — the Ryan budget came as an answer of sorts to the budget recommendations from the deficit committee, on which Ryan served with Bowles. Even though this is a competing plan, Bowles in September 2011 was impressed with it and with Ryan enough to call it “sensible,” “honest,” and “serious” — although Bowles still didn’t accept it as a substitute for the panel’s:

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