NORFOLK, VA — Upon hearing that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has joined Mitt Romney as a running mate, Democrats moved to scare senior citizens by repeating and overheating a charge that Politifact branded the 2011 “lie of the year”.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called Ryan “the architect of the Republican plan to kill Medicare” in a fundraising message sent by DCCC executive director Robby Mook. Mook explained the thinking behind making that charge in the next line, explaining that he wants to define Ryan in the minds of the American people as quickly as possible.

Romney anticipated that charge in his speech introducing Ryan today. “We will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security,” he promised.

Politifact rebuked Democrats for engaging in scare tactics when it unveiled the 2011 “Lie of the Year” Award. “A complicated and wonky subject with life-or-death consequences, health care is fertile ground for falsehoods,” the fact checker said. “The Democratic attack about “ending Medicare” was a pervasive line in 2011 that preyed on seniors’ worries about whether they could afford health care.”

By saying ‘kill’ instead of ‘end,’ Mook managed to overheat even the Democrats’ 2011 attack in an effort to define Ryan early in the minds of the American people. “[I] in a poll this week, only 46% of Americans even had an opinion of Ryan (38% had never heard of him),” Mook wrote. “These next hours are critical.”

Will it work? One Republican senior at the Romney-Ryan event this morning dismissed it out of hand. “Obama care is going to end Medicare long before anybody else does,” said Marie R., of Norfolk, after hearing Ryan speak.