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. rob

    The Dems will be running scared this time. Thne tables are turned on the issue of Medicare because unlike the Dems the Romney/Ryan plan will actually save the program instaed robing from it to pay for supposed freebies in the unpopular ObamaCare Law. The Ryan plan calls for a system similar to the ins offered to Govt employees now. It gives people the choice to buy private ins policies that fit their needs not some one size fits all Govt mandated plan with no choices and no recourse if they don't like the healthcare they receive.

    August 18, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Mary Alice Morthland

    It is shameful that Mr.Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system for those under 55 who will not have a quaranteed system his mother has enjoyed. By promising seniors the status quo, he hopes to be elected and then gut the system so important to our older population and for our children and grandchildren who will someday be seniors. This is one phony photo op set in a republican retirement village.

    August 18, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. AqChicago

    This is getting so deceptive. A nice looking decent guy who has sold himself the beliefs of private lobbyist, Ayn Rand, and similar people, is now seriously believing that he is doing the right thing by introducing vouchers and moving the elders in the hands of private insurance companies. We all know how the US private insurance companies work, especially when maximizing shareholder value if the one and only ultimate goal. This shareholder value thing is great in general businesses, not when it comes to medical insurance and treatments, where rejecting patients claims or coverage if part of making money...i am not sure why many americans can't get this and keep talking about "get your hands of my medical insurance".

    August 18, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Kelly Dews

    Shouldn't this headline read "Ryan uses his Mom as a prop to lie to seniors"? How are they still getting away with lying about this $716 billion? Romney/Ryan are no better then con artists scamming the elderly. It's disgraceful.

    August 18, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Sunny

    "the non-partisan AARP says Obamacare 'cracks down on Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse,' and strengthens guaranteed benefits."

    The AARP is not "non-partisan"; its head has given to the Obama campaign and supported Obama's policies and the healthcare act.

    August 18, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Sunny

    The crowd numbered well over 10,000. The author neglected to mention that key fact, which is a number that represents almost half of the medicare using residents of the Villages. Given that performance was standing room only, many people who could not stand most likely retreated. The crowd assembled 2 hours before the event started. Many residents of the Villages are not present during this time of year yet it seemed that those who were attended.

    Sunny, who was there.

    August 18, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. ValarMorghulis

    Spare me RyAYN's tale of protecting Medicare. Before any of his gut wrenching plans are in place his mother will likely be long gone from this life.

    The deficit hawk who voted for the unfunded wars, unfunded tax breaks for the wealthy, and the unfunded bail outs. His budget doesn't break even for decades into the future.

    His beliefs in Ayn Rand's philosophy tells me all I need to know.

    Vulture/Voucher 2012 The Loser Team!

    August 18, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. josephine

    Sorry Mr. Ryan, your math doesn't add up, as you would say you are pretty wonky about the numbers right now. And all this time you were considered a wiz on all these calculations. And by the way, which plan are you talking about, yours or Romneys, cause they are quite different so are your budget plans too? Try to come up with something else, such as your driving a truck, cow milking, cat fish noodling. Remember Romney says to stay safe. No details.

    August 18, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. winky

    The Ryan Medicare falsehoods continue:

    RYAN: Claimed: “The President raided $716 billion from the Medicare program to pay for the Obamacare program.”
    FACTS: Obamacare’s $716B in Medicare cuts, which Ryan included in the GOP budget, would slow the growth of Medicare over the next decade (2013*2022) and would not affect seniors’ benefits. Instead, the Read More...
    2ND RYAN claim: “One out of six of our hospitals and our nursing homes will go out of business as a result of this. Four million seniors are projected to lose their Medicare Advantage plans that they enjoy and they chose today under this Obamacare plan.”

    FACTS Far from destroying Medicare Advantage, the choices available through the program are “stronger than ever.” Premiums for the program are LOWER and ENROLLMENT has increased since Obamacare became law. Studies have also shown that the provider cuts in the law will lead doctors and hospitals to IMPROVE productivity and efficiency, resulting in substantial savings throughout the health care system.

    August 18, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Doc_Hollywood

    Funny that Ryan rails against government assistance yet his family has used it for years. From SS survivor benefits when his father died to medicare and SS for his mom. Yet he has no problems with trying to curtail it or even eliminate it for those coming behind him. And now, the foxes say they're going to be the guards of the hen house. If it wasn't so hypocritical, it would be hillarious.

    August 18, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. TomCom

    Next will be the public Schools. Everyone will get a coupon for $2,000 towards any private school you want,

    August 18, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Runphas7

    I just don't believe this guy. He lies, he & Romney really lie AND to stand up there with his mother and tell lies about President Obama (the you build this comment, his comment on The Affordable Care Act etc) AND a host of other lies that have been proven with facts. Nope, Nope, don't trust this one.

    August 18, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Erick

    Ryan is trying to convice voters but he plans to change from medicare into vouchers. He can trick people. He can fool everyone just like President Bush did before.

    August 18, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Tony in Maine

    Not that any one with an ounce of brains would attack Mrs. Ryan, but please don't introduce family – be they spouses, children, siblings or parents – and then howl to the gods when they get spattered with mud. Using Mom as a shield is just one baby step above Qaddafi's use of Libya's civilian population as a shield for his military.

    August 18, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. AW Messenger

    Remember that if we don't keep Hope and Change in office, we will most likely have to continue working in a free country where we as individuals will be forced to make decisions on our own, as opposed to the one we all obviously want: where all our decisions are made for us by the federal government.

    August 18, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. R H

    Pee Wee Herman has a Mom. A Mothers love is eternal. Thank goodness.

    August 18, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Bessy

    This guy should be ashamed of himself to use his mother this way. He lies, a proven fact, just like Romney, and now he is making a liar out of his mother. Heaven help mothers from kids like this. Disgusting!

    August 18, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Thanks to her hubby's millionaire business (building roads under Eisenhower) and help if needed from her wealthy son, who continues to own the business. His cousin runs it for him while he's in D.C. She lives in a gated community in the wealthiest part of Lauderdale (just like your granny, I'm sure.)

    Good for them - it's a shame they want to take away the very little our grand-parents have. The repubs have stated clearly for almost 40 years that they want to shrink medicare to the size of a tub so they can drown it. Google it if you don't believe me - don't just call me names.

    August 18, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    My retirement would have been 1000 a month now thanks to Bush when I turn 62 old in 3 years I get 750 a month. I have worked since I was 16 years old.

    August 18, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. incredulous

    Sickening, Ryan hiding behind his mother while he prepares to whittle away health care for the rest of us and our mothers.

    August 18, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. Mike

    Why do Americans constantly fall for the Greedy One Percent (aka GOP) lies? ""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.” He has the nerve to saywhat?! It's HIS very overhaul of Medicare that will break that promise!! Why don't people see this! If Ryan has his way, then anybody under the age of 45 now will be PAYING THROUGH THE NOSE for for something (medicare) that they already had cut out of their paychecks on a weekly basis. In other words, people will be paying a hefty monthly fee just to have Medicare that was supposedly promised to them in retirement!!! I say have the hospitals, doctors, nursing facilities, and the like receive less reimbursement so the PEOPLE can be given what they were promised!

    August 18, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Clearly Ms. Ryan and other business owners did it all on their own. They built the roads that bring the products and customers to their stores. They built the mail delivery system that allows them to bill customers and serves as a low cost form of targeted advertising. They built the infrastructure that ensures electricity and running water are availible at a low cost. They wrote the regulatins that allows them to operate by limiting the power of a few large player from dominating and surpressing a given market. The list goes on...but it doesn't matter because in the end they did it all by themselves. Why should these people pay taxes?

    August 18, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. littletingod

    I wonder why Ryan doesn't say that HIS so-called "plan" ALSO cuts $716B?

    August 18, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. 2008-2016

    Wow. Bringing your Mom? No shame.

    August 18, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Wren

    Clearly Ms. Ryan other business owners did it all on their own. They build the roads and transportation system that brings products and customers to their place of business. They built the mail delivery system that allows them to bill customers and advertise at a low cost. They built the infrastructure that ensues running water and electricity in their place of business, again at a very low cost. They wrote the regulations that allow them to operate without surpression from a few dominant players in the market. Clearly they did it all on their own. Pfft...why should they pay taxes?

    August 18, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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