It’s supposed to be the Democrats’ signature issue, but Medicare has risen to the forefront of this year’s presidential race largely because Mitt Romney’s campaign has put it there.

On the Sunday political shows, surrogates for the GOP presidential hopeful amplified their attacks on President Obama’s Medicare plans, saying the Democrats’ reforms will gut the popular seniors program leaving it up to Republicans to save it.

That twist on the usual Washington refrain – Democrats for decades have accused Republicans of wanting to dismantle Medicare – combined with the aggressive nature of the GOP’s messaging campaign, all but ensure that the issue will remain in the headlines in the run up to election day.