Ryan highlights his mom in attacking Obama
August 18th, 2012
01:13 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan highlights his mom in attacking Obama

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.

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"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


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Paul Ryan
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. acepaul

    Non-partisan AARP? Yeah, right...

    August 18, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. USwatcher

    These repubs using their Moms are just shameful...what do you think your Mom is going to say...don't vote for my boy...shameful and tacky tacky tacky.

    August 18, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Ann Marie

    Oh please Ryan, can you go any lower. When are you guys going to quit lying to the elderly?

    August 18, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    If Medicare is not reformed, it will end abruptly in a few short years... This Senior knows which plan will be the best for Seniors that have paid into this overloaded system since inception. The governmaent cannot effeciently run anything...never has.

    August 18, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  5. slong67

    Is this guy for real. Dragging his mother in front of the cameras to help him spread his lies. He's shameless just like Mittens . They're a perfect for eachother and together they will destroy this country if they get the opportunity.

    August 18, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. Jake

    These guys are shamefully playing the seniors for fools and unfortunately many are buying into this snake oil they are selling. What's sad is that seniors because of their age rely on others or information that they simply do not have the time and energy to determine the truthfulness or source of it. This is the disgusting and shameful tactic that Romney and Ryan have gone to...exploit the fears and weakness of the seniors, making them believe that they are the ones that care about them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The only ones that will benefit from Romney winning is...Romney and Ryan, the Insurance Industry, Wall Street and those with money to invest big time in the Insurance Industry. The people who depend on Medicare will get vouchers which is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing. The Insurance Industry and Wall Street are just salivating and hoping the Romney wins. Romney wins, they win and you lose.

    August 18, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. Leroy

    Paul Ryan's mom is wealthy and financially well-off. Why does she even need Social Security and Medicare?

    August 18, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  8. pflatman

    I really want the Republicans to put up a couple of common sense names for Prez and VP. Just do it, already. Ryan and his twin brother Mittens make the rest of America want to barf.

    August 18, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. AK_steve

    Really? On stage with his mom? "Vote for me. My mom says I am a good guy."

    August 18, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. trex

    ..Is Ryan's Mom gonna pay for the extra that the PRIVATE INSURANCE WILL COST ME.....?

    August 18, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. chedar888

    Both the parents of Romney and Ryan does not need Medicare. It is the working class that needs it. Ask Ryan how much voucher he is going to come up with to help pay for your private insurance. My wife at 64 pays $1521 per month. If you are now 55 yrs old and you reach 67 (12 more years befor you qualify for a voucher). You can be sure the rise in premium is at a minimum of 15-17%. You will be paying $7400 per month when you hit 67 yrs. old. Assuming average social security right now that a person received is $1500. With increase by the government at 3% per year based on what they define as inflation,. By the time you reach 67, you will be receiving a Social Security of $ 2140. If you pay a premium of $7400 assuming you give all your social security to your health insurance company, you need a voucher of $5261 per month. Is that what the voucher Ryan is going to give you? Ask him? Even if he give you a voucher of $5261, you wont' have anything left. Not even money for a dog food on your next meal.

    August 18, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  12. Larry L

    Like Romney, Ryan will not show the American people his tax returns because they are hiding the truth. They want us to trust a spoiled, always-filthy rich Bain Capital weasel and a career politician with records of lies and distortions of the truth. Why would anybody trust them?

    August 18, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  13. michael

    Ryan plan gives mom's vouchers for pony rides to the cliff.

    August 18, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  14. gmenfan54

    Next, Ryan will show us his mom's tax returns.

    August 18, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. Barbie

    Obama and Biden.................Dumb and Dumber

    August 18, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  16. survivor4

    I'm sure Mrs. Ryan-Douglas is proud of her son and will vote for him, but I will not. In fact, I wouldn't vote for him if he was my own son.

    August 18, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. solrac503

    That's not very nice – using his mother as a human shield to guard himself against millions of angry seniors. I guess it works better than an etch a sketch or a chalk board. DON'T TRADE YOUR VOTING BOX FOR A CORPORATE SUGGESTION BOX.

    Vote Obama

    August 18, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. CNN Fan

    It is so sad to see his mum when she watching her son lying to other seniors .....I feel so sorry for her ...when she was forced to join her son ..... :(
    Ryan....please leave her alone....

    August 18, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  19. Voter

    Have any people on this site read the ACA?

    August 18, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. labman57

    Well, which are you going to believe:
    Ryan's dear, lovable adoring mother who proclaims that Paul has the middle class senior citizen community's best interests at heart ...

    Or his own record in Congress.

    August 18, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    ohh the GOP is so hard core they send there mom to attack the DEMS lol

    August 18, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  22. Are there REALLY atheists, or just soulless people

    come on, are we still talking about romney and ryan? its over folks. picking ryan was throwing in the towel. McCain did it in '08. no one gave failin palin a chance. for one thing that fake voice was about to drive me bonkers. now romney does a repeat, and picks another clown. You know MITT, Obama was going to win anyway, you could have picked a more credible candidate, like Powell. Bet if he had, he thinks he would have won.

    August 18, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    Paul Ryan is a wolf in sheep clothing. Be afraid, be very afraid of the Ryan budget.

    August 18, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  24. Jan

    If his mother is dependent on Medicare...then SHAME ON HIM! He can afford to help his mother unlike most of us.

    August 18, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  25. v4865

    his won't have to worry she has her millions to care for her plus her sonsr ,,these seniors aren't stupid so let him use his dear old betty ..should be ashame of himself usin his mom to dupe these senior

    August 18, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
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