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
Romney and Ryan think the american people are stupid therefore they can fool us.
Oh no, here we go again. A wolf in sheep's clothing..
Ryan's mom will vote Obama LOL. Cheap shot Ryan
Obama can win the election with just one word repeated over and over again..."VoucherCare". Spread the word.
Two politicians. Unprepared. Good men probably. Just no vision to sell
I don't think Ryan is lying, or being hypocritical, or disingenuous. He really does want his mama to have Medicare. He just doesn't care about your mama.
Don't members of Congress have socialized medicine ?
Arnt the coverd by the Government ?
When Ryen's father passed away , didn't Paul get funding ?
Seeing Ryan's relationship with his mother will definitely help solidify senior votes. She is a very likable woman with a charming son, and they clearly have a close relationship. Policies be damned... character is an important value for seniors, and they both have lots of it.
Romney has already shown better judgement than our inept president by his choice in running mate. Biden really!! What a moron.
Alfalfa Ryan and Mitt the twit are bold faced liars. They can't be trusted because they are bought and paid for by the Koch brothers.
The most definitive definition of any tool amd coward is low-life that deigns to use his own mother as a weapon to attack his opponents.
I assume his next move will be a photo op at an Orange County (CA) golf course with adoring crowds waving Romney signs.
I'm reminded of Dubya giving speeches on military reservations where the enlisted men are told your weekend pass depends on a smile and appropriate hooooah.
The Villages is your typical conservative, wealthy, mostly white community.
Now, he has his momma lying
With Ryan/Romney say goodbye to MEDICARE and hello COUPONCARE!!!
So many lies, so little time to tout them. His mother shoukd be ashamed.
The ONLY interest of private health insurance companies is PROFIT.
hope you people know ryan mama is RICH.........her azz doesn't need medicare ..like some of you stupid mitt azz kissers will need it vote his lyin azz in and you'll get what your dumb azzez deserve NOTING
Obama 2012 the ONLY WAY FORWARD...................wait til you numskulls here how ryan hates women and his bidget plan
very apparent that Mr Ryan's Likeability and desire to really address the tough issues will propel R&R past Mr Obama and Biden who's likability has fallen dramatically with the way they are running their re-election campaign and have shown no desire to take on the tough issues of the economy and our US deficit/Debt that is destroying it.
The Villages is a walkable community made for the well to do seniors; however, we need to create new neighborhoods made for seniors on modest means. With our huge population of baby boomers aging fast; many will soon not be able to drive. Most seniors are on a fixed income.
Can leaders redesign and rebuild more affordable neighborhoods for those seniors on modest means? Summer jobs for college students could be created in rebuilding these new affordable neighborhoods made just for seniors.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in knowing my well to do elderly parent has a place to call home; like that of the Villages. However most of the elderly live on a fixed income. What will be the Republican's plans for those who are on a fixed income and who soon will not be able to drive?
It sure looks like a lot of posters here are government dependents and not one of the few carrying most of the tax load in this country. It is hilarious to read some of these whiny posts. You people think you paid in enough money to collect 20-30 years of social security and medicare? NO! Most people will get back FAR more than they ever paid. If you all of these government payments then how about you pay more in? Enough of the MEdicare and Social Security free riders!
EVERYTHING in this country is being paid for and subsidized by fewer and fewer while Obama and the Democrats plan to squeeze and rip them off for far more down the road. This rape the "rich" strategy will only work so long before it implodes and all of the money disappears when people decide to take their money elsewhere. Like everything the Democrats do, it is a sure long term economic disaster.
So funny that Mittens' "braintrust" thought the best way to cover Mr. Ayn Rand's butt in his first foray into FL was to have him hide under mommy's skirt, where he poked his head out and spewed more lies about Obama and Medicare. I guess abs of steel don't necessarily mean a spine of steel. In the space of the 10 days since he's been nominated, we've learned that Ryan is just another conniving lying weasel and do we really want weasels trying to lead us out of our current problems?
Ryan has to bring his "mama" on stage????? is this supposed to get people's vote??? HA! Everyone sees through this...
All I can say is a vote for Romney/Ryan is going to be to "Vote Rich but Live Poor"
even though he brought his mom it still does not change his policies. To stand there and actually lie , he knows very well that money was never taken from benefirts, but simply from faud and waste that he also had in his own version.
And I am sorry there NO ONE that has created any business without any help, including him, without the voters he would not be there also.
How arrogant can anyone be to think that no one gave you a chance, no one believed in you to make it possible to accomplish your drems;parents, siblings, grandparents, community, church,friends, mentors,etc.
Even Romney , his parents were able to afford a great education, he didn't ahve student loans , unlike President Obama that is grateful and appreciates the help people agve him, I guess Romney DID IT ALL BY HIMSELF.
Awesome job Ryan. No reason to hide from the obama hype and lie machine. No one within 10 years of being seniors will have any changes to the medicare system. Obama cuts dr's and Insurance companies pay from Medicare and acts like that will not affect seniors or further ration their care, which, like much of the obama negative attack campaign, is just another lie.