St. Augustine, Florida (CNN) - Fresh off a non-stop weekend of campaigning with his new running mate, Mitt Romney still seemed to be riding high at a free-wheeling rally Monday morning in Florida.
The presumptive GOP nominee diverted from his standard stump speech into a host of new material tailored to voters in this prized swing state: on the American space program, the housing crisis that hit Florida particularly hard, and the Medicare program popular with seniors.
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"We want to make sure that we preserve and protect Medicare," Romney said, as he praised Paul Ryan, the House budget chairman and new addition to the Republican ticket.
Romney's assertion came as Democrats moved quickly to define Ryan on the national stage as an ultra-conservative who would dismantle the government health care program beloved by seniors. Ryan was the architect of House Republicans' budget plan to address the national deficit, including a proposal to reshape Medicare for citizens under age 55.
"Mitt Romney's not telling the truth about the Medicare savings in the health reform law," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith on Monday. "It's unfortunate that Mitt Romney would rather distort the truth than have an honest debate about the devastating impact the Romney-Ryan plan would have on Florida's seniors."
Romney's Monday rally – his first solo appearance since his vice presidential announcement – was closely watched by politicos and the media, after he drew larger-than-usual and very enthusiastic audiences at events with Ryan over the weekend.
Monday morning, the Orlando Sentinel reported Romney canceled a third Florida event due to exhaustion from his busy weekend. Campaign spokesman Kevin Madden pushed back on that report, saying Romney had a "packed schedule and a full day" including meetings with staff.
For his part, Romney offered his audience a full-throated celebration of America, both at the Olympics and in the NASA space program.
"I know there are people around the world who are always critical of America, have something negative to say, say our greatest days are in the past. Baloney. We just won more Olympic medals than any other nation on earth," Romney said.
He continued: "We just landed on Mars and took a good look at what's going on there. And, I know the Chinese are planning on going to the moon, and I hope they have a good experience doing that, and I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago!"
In an apparent rebuke to the event's organizers, Romney made mention of the lines of supporters who listened from outside the security barricades at Flagler College.
"I understand there are even more people outside those barricades than inside here, so the people way out there, thank you for coming today," he said. "Looks like we just didn't have enough of those mags [magnetometers] to get everybody in in time."
Romney closed his event with a story about a Boy Scout troop leader who arranged to have their troop's American flag aboard the Challenger space shuttle, which exploded on takeoff in a deadly tragedy.
NASA later found the flag in perfect condition, Romney said.
"I looked over at that flag and I put my hand on it and pulled it out - it was like electricity was running through my arm as I was holding onto that flag," Romney said. "You see, to me it represented the people who strive in this nation. The people who reach out, who make discoveries that enhance America. It's the nature of who we are."
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If you get a coupon for $7,000 from GOP govt and doctor says your bill is $15,000, who is going to cover the difference?
Ask your local GOP supporter!
and post your answer.
I think we have set a new record for debunking conservative talking points. $700 billion form Medicare, false. Losing the work requirement for welfare, false. Adding to the debt, false. And those are just the ones this week.
Is there a single conservative talking point that has rated better than half true?I'm thinking probably not.
@FAIR IS FAIR, because Wyden is a blue dog democrat and will vote with the clown party everytime, so there is no need to complain. You know the people in the south and midwest have no convictions at all until they want to get everybody to follow their rules. Because you voted for Dubya this is why we are in this mess today. Why did you not complain about Dubya's two wars, medicare part D and what ever else that he did not include in the budget?
Where are those taxes Mitt Romneyhood?
Ro ROmney's accountant, how did Romney able to write off Rafalca a dancing horse when I can't even write off my pair of ballet dancing goldfish. Show your taxes Romney so we can see how you write off that dancing horse of Ann.
Should have said: "Isn't it ironic that a draft dodger would roll out his vice-presidential pick in front of a battleship? Have these draft-dodging SOBs no shame?"
Romney supposedly wants to protect seniors' Medicare by privatizing it and charging them $6,000 more a year.
Obama/Biden 2012 for a truly stronger middle class.
Not Romney/Ryan's tax cuts for themselves.
The anti-Romney comments on this post are so full of misinformation, and the anti-Obama comments are not!
Obama has great rhetoric, so the does the "Tax Dodger"!
There all half truths folks, dont you get it!
I agree to do research and notice how Romney/Ryan's plan keeps the same cuts to Medicare while adding their privatizing voucher system that charges seniors $6,000 more a year.
All while giving more tax cuts to the rich, so Romney will pay virtually no taxes on his income. Please look it up.
"WHY do they constantly lie to and frighten the elderly?? WHY do they do this to these poor old people?? Isn't this some form of elder abuse??"
Now that is rich, especially coming from you! You (and others) have spent the past three years jumping all over yourselves changing from one name to the next trying to scare granny, gramps ... and anyone else who is willling to give your comments the time of day ... just enough "umph" to try and get a rise out of them.
I suspect our seniors are much more savy politically then you give them credit for. Indeed, I know they are. Which is why putting Paul Ryan on the ticket was a very, very big mistake on Romney's part.
"If you get a coupon for $7,000 from GOP govt and doctor says your bill is $15,000, who is going to cover the difference?"
@Lying Failure – "Any changes to Medicare wouldn't affect ANYBODY over 55 years of age"
That may or may not be true. However, everyone under 55 has a big surprise waiting for them when they retire. A voucher set at the cost of medical insurance today that will only go up in value at the inflation rate, while the cost of insurance policies has been rising at a much higher rate – like 7% to 12% more. That means that in 20 years, you will have to sign over your voucher, your social security, and probably some money out of pocket to pay for your health insurance. Ryan doesn't control the cost of Medicare. He just passes the burden over to the seniors of the future.
BTW, of course Romney likes Ryan – the Ryan tax plan exempsts all interest, dividends, and capital gains from taxation, meaning Romney would have paid less than 1% in taxes in 2010, a $2.8 million windfall for him. Most wealthy people have a lot of unearned income. Their taxes will go down a lot and the rest of us will be stuck with the bill. No thanks!
"Show the American Tax payers your Tax Returns,Mitt!!!! We must know the actual "Deceit and Lies" your involved in??? Ryan is a Poster Boy for Austerity! Throw the poor and middleclass in the street! Women,beware of this "Threat to your choice and Health Care?? WOW!
Medicare and Social Security benefits are funded by payroll taxes from current active workers. If those taxes are diverted to other funding schemes, there will not be enough money to pay for current benefits.
To say that you can continue to pay for current benefits AND divert those revenues to other purposes - as Ryan says we must do - means either higher taxes on working people or cuts in benefits for those currently retired.
Ryan is among the majority of Republicans who voted for the multi-trillion dollar pharmacy benefit for seniors, without raising taxes to pay for it. I hardly think that kind of logic - which only addes to the deficit - is going to lead to a balanced budget.
The DEMS would like to convince the American-People that the Romney/Ryan ticket will kill Medicare- as-we-know-it....
Well, it is the Obamacare that put SINKERS aound each and every American's neck and is heading for Noah's deluge..
but without Noah's Ark....It seems that Partisanship has gone overboard and created two (2) Nations...What happened
to the "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"...?...Where has the Country gone...?
Romney/Ryan – The unethical ticket.
Robmey and Crying Ryan keep your hands off my Medicare!
Here's the deal, Romney-Ryan gut all social programs, you take a low wage service job, no bennies, you have to work until you die, .end of story
The anti-Romney comments on this post are so full of misinformation! Please, Americans, listen and do research! Obama's healthcare plan guts $716 million from Medicare (or more). That's true! Ryan's plan will leave Medicare as it currently is for all who are over 55. For younger Americans, they have the choice of keeping the current plan or choosing a private medicare plan! Don't let your pride and liberal bias cloud your intelligent reason! Obama has great rhetoric, but he has not improved the condition of the nation. Not one member of Congress, Dem or Repub, has voted for the budgets he has presented the last 3 years. He hasn't even passed one budget since inaugurated. He is a handsome, charismatic man, but he is not a good president!
You need to the read the plan and stop listening to the talking heads! Paul Ryan keeps the same cuts as President Obama and adds more cuts on top those. Seniors, the middle class and the poor are in big trouble if Romney is elected.
Obama – Four years of Lying, Four years of Failure
Any changes to Medicare wouldn't affect ANYBODY over 55 years of age yet not one single Democrat is ever heard saying this. WHY do they constantly lie to and frighten the elderly?? WHY do they do this to these poor old people?? Isn't this some form of elder abuse??
Obama has no plan of his own to save Medicare except let it go broke. Then I guess he expects the drama will allow taxes to be raised? Yes, this seriously is how he manages the government. It's his first time so yeah it's not exactly fine tuned yet...
Please hold Romney's feet to the fire on his "plans." Exactly how does he plan on cutting unemployment in 1/2? Exactly how will he cut taxes and at the same time pay down the deficit while reducing the budget? I remember Nixon's famous "I have a plan to end the Vietnam War." We elected him only to discover he had no plan; it was only a ploy to get elected. Also, press him on 12 years of tax returns. He owes it to the American people.
Sure it's not going to kill Medicare but do you really trust a private insurer to take care of things? I don't! Just tried having some testing done by my doctor and the insurance company tried denying it even though my doctor told them is was needed to prescribe me the right medication. Sorry but there are many other was of funding Medicare. How about removing the caps on how much a person pays into it? The more you make the more you pay. This was brought up and proven to work and fund Medicare for years to come.
Very poor pick! Way to far to the right!
When Bush took office, unemployment was at 5.7%. When he left, it was at 7.8%. That's almost a 2% increase. So in essence Bush did a worse job than Obama. How the heck can Romney "cut unemployment in half" using the same Bush policies of trickle down economics?? The man doesn't even believe himself. How can we?
Unemployment was at 7.8% when Obama took office, it is now 8.3%. That's ONLY half a percent increase. Considering the recession and the tanking market he was handed, Obama has done a great job keeping America afloat. My 401k looks great now compared to how it looked under Bush.
To you Dems who say this will scare seniors: Gallup has a poll out today that senior citizens prefer Ryan's plan over Obama's 48% to 42%. Seniors want Romney to win, they're not stupid. They know what's at stake and they know that if they're over 55 they're not missing out on anything. I'd rather HAVE medicare be around in 12 years than not at all.