The Villages, Florida (CNN) – There were two Ryans onstage Saturday at the largest retirement community in the country: The Republican vice presidential candidate and his mom.
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin got a helping hand from his mother Betty, a retiree who lives part-time in the Sunshine State, as he promised to protect Medicare and attacked President Barack Obama over the popular federal health insurance program for seniors.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
"Medicare was there for our family, for my grandma when we needed it. Medicare is here for my mom when she needs it now and we have to keep that guarantee. My mom has been on Medicare for 10 years, but I won't tell you exactly how many years over 10 years she's been on it," Ryan told a large and very supportive crowd consisting mainly of retirees and those nearing retirement age.
"She planned her retirement based around this promise that the government made her because she paid her payroll taxes into this program that she had this promise with. That's a promise we have to keep.”
Since presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney announced the seven-term congressman as his running mate one week ago, Medicare has become a much-battled-about issue on the campaign trail.
The Obama campaign and fellow Democrats instantly attacked Ryan over the budget plan that he introduced in the House, terming it a "radical plan" that would benefit the rich at the detriment to the middle-class, and they highlighted his proposals to alter Medicare, which they said would "end Medicare as we know it."
The Romney campaign has fired back, accusing the president of cutting the entitlement program to pay for his signature health care reform law.
Ryan continued that attack Saturday.
"Here's what the president won't tell you about his Medicare plan, about Obamacare: The president raids $716 billion dollars from the Medicare program to pay for the Obamacare program," he said.
But he also added a new line as he touted the GOP ticket's proposals, saying "we think the best way to save Medicare is to empower 50 million seniors, not 15 unelected bureaucrats to make their decisions in how they get their health care. Mitt Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare so that the promises that were made, that people organized their retirements around like my mom, will be promises that are kept."
The president and his re-election campaign are pushing back against the GOP attacks. A new television commercial running this weekend in key battleground states rebuts the Romney-Ryan charges with the narrator in the spot saying "the non-partisan AARP says Obamacare 'cracks down on Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse,' and strengthens guaranteed benefits."
And the commercial criticizes the Ryan proposals on Medicare, with the announcer adding that "AARP says it would undermine Medicare and could lead to higher costs for seniors. And experts say Ryan's voucher plan could raise future retirees’ costs more than $6,000."
The Romney campaign is getting the $716 billion figure from a July 24 Congressional Budget Office report which measured the impact of repealing the health care overhaul law, which Romney has promised to do.
The report says that under the repeal measure, "Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013-2022 period." Those spending increases would be a result of more spending on hospital and medical insurance, offset by a decrease in prescription drug coverage.
The report also notes that the projected $716 billion increase in Medicare spending if the the health care law is repealed does not signal a $716 billion decrease if the measure stays in place - which is Romney's argument.
Although the purpose of the event was to tout the campaign's position on Medicare, Ryan also pitched the Republican ticket's economic message using his mother's background as a source of inspiration for him.
"You know, growing up, my dad worked and my mom stayed at home. I've got three older siblings – a sister and two brothers. And my mom stayed at home those years. When my dad died, my mom went back to school, she went back to college, got a new skill or a new trade and she started a small business. My mom had three or four employees at that small business that she started," he said.
His mom, Betty Douglas, started an interior decoration business and went to school at the University of Wisconsin.
Getting choked up, Ryan turned to his mom who was sitting in a chair behind the stage and said, "Mom, I am proud of you for going out and getting another degree. I am proud of you for the small business that you created and mom, you did build that!"
Ryan was referring to a comment Obama made at a campaign event in Virginia in mid-July when he was trying to make an argument for public investments like infrastructure and education that support the private sector.
"If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," Obama said at the time.
The Romney campaign and Republicans have been attacking the president over the "you didn't build it" line ever since, using it on the trail, on t-shirts and bumper stickers, and in a television commercial. Democrats say the line was taken out of context.
A few blocks away from Ryan's event, a small protest was organized by labor and retirement groups including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Florida organization Organize Now.
The Villages, which is just more than an hour northwest of Orlando, has become a must stop for presidential candidates, both in the primaries and in the general election. Romney held an event here when he was battling for the GOP nomination. And Sarah Palin drew a large crowd at the Villages four years ago when the then-Alaska governor was Sen. John McCain's running mate on the Republican ticket.
Obama narrowly won Florida four years ago. The most recent polling this time around has Obama holding a single-digit advantage in the battle for the state's 29 electoral votes.
– CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report
Ryan...liar liar pants on fire
had to bring his mommy with him so crowds wouldn't get hostile!
I'm not a fan of Mitt or Paul but 4 more years of Obama will distroy what's left of this country.
Ryan thinks his mom built the road, bridges and highways to her company – what a fool
Ryan rolled out his Mom to vouch for him today; it's not often you see a politico do that... It reminded me of when my Mom used to write me an excuse for school..."Dear Teacher, Please excuse my son Paul's health care plan; I promise he won't cut your insurance benefits. Sincerely, Betty Douglas"
Now Ryan's an expert on China foreign policy. He's flip flopped on this issue quite a bit. Sounds as if he is ready to dump Romney and go it alone. Just what we need. Of course, his vouchers will destroy medicare. The greedy insurance companies backed by a Romney presidency would raise premium prices way beyond the meager value of the vouchers. They also would limit the total coverage and not cover preexisting conditions and retain the right to kick you out if you become seriously ill. His ideas of ultra religious social rules for women are from another era. No abortions even in the case of rape or incest . This is a man seemingly without any empathy for the old, the poor and the unfortunate. Perfect qualifications for a VP. This is a guy who has never had a real job and has lived off the dole of the government. What does he know of real people and their lives and problems? If you don't believe this you have your head buried in the baloney of the Ryan/Romney campaign
the problem is, when you tell a lie. You have to keep on telling a lie to covered up the first Lie. LOL Then Romney bring poor Paul in to help him lie. George Washington is turning over in his grave.
It says something about a man that uses his own mother. I failed for it, did you?
Most crybabies hide behind Momma's skirt when big, bad playmates attack him for telling lies about them. If Mommy still has any in fluence, she should tell him to be honest.
Mama do not let your son grow up to be a lier. Release the tax returns.
This liar claims to protect Medicare when he wants to voucherize it so when the money runs out, youre out of luck when you get sick while he accuses Obama of cutting $700B from Medicare when what he actually did was make it more cost-effective without reducing benefits. Pants on fire!
Ryan is a crook like Rick Scott bringing his mother and peddling his Medicare lie to the wealthy.
I'm pretty sure that his mother would say just about anything if it meant her son could get in office – not. However, she is quite capable of paying the $6,000 raised medicare costs if the Ryan plan took effect. My mother is unable to. My son does not have health insurance and has a pre-existing condition. He and our family would be out of luck and in poor health if Romney (Willard) and Ryan get in office and cut the health care bill, a bill similar to what Mass. has...Hmmm!
Youre going to empower 50 Million Seniors how exactly? By giving them an $8K voucher that wont coome close to paying for the level of healthcare they may need? With Medicare in its current form are Seniors not already empowered to see the physicians they want to see? Nevermind.
I wouldn't believe a word out of Lyin Ryan's mouth (or Nitwit Mitt's mouth for that matter either) even if their tongues came notarized.
Hiding behind his mother's skirt, sisssssssssssssy
The fact that I am now 53. Born in 1958 and have been working since 1972 paying into this system and now it will be taken away is too much for me to bear. Who do you think lost most of the jobs in 2008? It was the just over 50 crowd. The hard working, long employed that lost out. We lost our 403B's (like 401K but all MY OWN contributions, none from my employer). Now he and the GOP want to take any security away I will have in my future.
i guess I'm just curious...when will this little foolish man get called out publicly for all these lies he's telling??
Romney is already fading into the background – it's the Ryan/Romney ticket now. Romney thinks we should just "trust" him about his financial records and Ryan thinks we'll believe that vouchers won't destroy Medicare. How many people know that Ryan's voucher plan only increases with the CPI even though the health care cost index increases much more than the CPI? Seniors would lose ground, paying more and more of their fixed incomes for insurance until they could no longer afford it. They'll end up in the ER and state taxpayers will have to pick up the tab. Oh, Ryan didn't mention that at his rally? Well, just "trust" him, OK?
I'm sorry for the lady, but I could never trust anybody that raced their kids to become selfish Republican layers.
Hah! Wwhy did AARP lose so many members during the Obamacare passage if it were non-partisan? I know why I'm no longer a member and it is because I believed that they stopped representing the interest of seniors and started representing themselves and their products.
Oh my, I am so tired of Politicians. We have been beaten to death with all the sound bits, mud slinging. I wish it were November 30th.
Big deal. My mom is 83, and look healthier...
Ryan is trying to convince the old senile bunch his mother "relies" on medicare. His family is extremely wealthy. They made much of their fortune from federal governments building highways in the US. You know, the big government infrastructure jobs Romney and Ryan want to do away with. Hypocrites.
Here in PA, the Republican legislature and Governor passed a restrictive Voter ID requirement that has voters frustrated. Some elderly citizens are having trouble obtaining a copy of their birth certificates because they were born at home with a midwife. Record keeping was not great, court houses burned down or lost records...and they've made numerous trips to try to get an ID. Frustrated, many may give up. And today the PA State department announced that they will not allow online voter registrations as was promised! One of our state GOP reps announced openly that the Voter ID law was passed to ensure a Romney victory in PA. They already tried and failed to get redistricting done that would prevent Democrats from winning any district races. You cannot believe how chopped up the districts were. The courts threw that out but they won't give up. They undermine our democracy! Why does anyone vote for them? They serve corporations, not people.