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.

– 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


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

    I'm glad Ryan loves his mom. I'm glad she loves him. And I'm sure they're Both Glad that they're rich enough and have sufficient coverage to weather pretty much any health crisis that arises (god forbid). I will not believe a word this man (or any other Republican legislator) says until they volunteer to give up their socialistic, free medical coverage. Meh.

    August 18, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. reginaldb6

    Ryan how can you save Medicare when you want to slash and burn Medicare and lets not talk about what you will do to the poor you should be ashamed

    August 18, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. nolimits3333

    Ryan is pictured here, shortly before he sent his mom out on an ice flow.

    August 18, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. never to vote repuulican again

    Throw the gradparnts of the bridge repubs! Always protecting the RICH!

    August 18, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. zisee

    Good for you Ryan, get talking, love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hi Betty.

    August 18, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. RadZap

    Paul Ryan just got destroyed in an article written by Rage Against the Machine, Ryan's favorite band. I'm not sure what Ryan was trying to do by admitting that he liked the band, but it's clear that the band wants nothing to with him and his fascist politics.

    "Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses!!" That's you PR!!

    August 18, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Indy

    Only in Ryanhood is it OK to use your Mom to put forth your lies and pretend you are a deficit hawk when you supported every single thing that took the country into a deep depression like TARP,Two wars,medicaid part D, no bid contracts for Haliburton. Lying to the entire country with your Mom next to you is just not cool

    August 18, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. carly

    Ryan can bring his mommy along but he is still a pandering liar just like Romney.

    August 18, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. John W

    Paul is more flip flopper than the Mitten.

    August 18, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Guest

    Shame shame shame. Ryan using your mom? And mom, you also as well lie for your son.

    Pretty sad.

    August 18, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Michael

    I wonder if his Mom will secretly vote for Obama, knowing her future is at risk. She should!

    August 18, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Cary

    Wow..cheap tactic to drag his mom into the political mess of the Tea/Republican party..embarrassing

    August 18, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. rob

    Stumping in Florida today, Mitt Romney charged President Obama's Affordable Care Act will "cut more than $700 billion" out of Medicare.
    What Romney didn't say was that his running-mate's budget - approved by House Republicans and by Romney himself - would cut Medicare by the same amount.
    The big difference, though, is the Affordable Care Act achieves these savings by reducing Medicare payments to drug companies, hospitals, and other providers rather than cutting payments to Medicare beneficiaries.
    The Romney-Ryan plan, by contrast, achieves its savings by turning Medicare into a voucher whose value doesn't keep up with expected increases in healthcare costs - thereby shifting the burden onto Medicare beneficiaries, who will have to pay an average of $6,500 a year more for their Medicare insurance, according an analysis of the Republican plan by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
    Moreover, the Affordable Care Act uses its Medicare savings to help children and lower-income Americans afford health care, and to help seniors pay for prescription drugs by filling the so-called "donut hole" in Medicare Part D coverage.
    The Romney-Ryan plan uses the savings to finance even bigger tax cuts for the very wealthy.
    Spread the word. Don't allow the GOP to get away with this demagoguery.

    August 18, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    All of the fact-checkers show Ryan's "attack" to be complete distortions of reality. It seems nobody associated with the Romey campaign can tell the truth. The "you didn't build it" line is a perfect example of taking something out of context and exploiting it dishonestly. Why don't we just look at Romney's tax returns and nobody has to say a word – the dishonesty will speak volumes.

    August 18, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Patrick Cooper

    Ryan's orchestrated coverup of his Medicare plans using his own mom as a prop makes me want to puke. In actuality, Ryan's plan will be worse for Medicare recipients. AARP rates Obama plan to be the better of the two. Romney and Ryan are lying when they say Obama is robbing Medicare to pay for Obamacare. It just ain't true.

    August 18, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Hillcrester

    Ryan is the perfect running mate for Romney. Romney was for gun control before he was against it, for mandated health insurance before he was against it, etc. Ryan specifically requested stimulus money for WI while claiming stimulus doesn't work, advocated for the same redirection of Medicare funds as Obama before he decided it was wrong, etc.

    Ryan can choose whether he is dumb or just lying (of course both could be true). R&R are just making it too easy for Obama/Biden.

    August 18, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Mike Texoma

    Gee, guys, I don't think it likely that I will readiing Congressman Ryan's house-passed budget (privatizing Medicare) before snow flies.. And I may not get around to reading President Obama's Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) before the election. So, that just leaves one question: Who do I trust more with my health care, President Obama or those AIG people living large on our premium dollars down in the Bahamas?

    August 18, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. gmenfan54

    Ryan's mom will probably vote for Obama.

    August 18, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Dude in Colorado

    You're going to empower 50 Million Seniors how exactly? By giving them an $8K voucher that won't coome close to paying for the level of healthcare they may need? With Medicare in it's current form are Seniors not already empowered to see the physicians they want to see? Nevermind.

    August 18, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. John

    Paul Ryan Plan will ruin Medicare has we know It. And It will cost a lot more out of are pocket If you Listen to Paul Ryan LIES. Just ask the AARP. It bad enough he had to use his MOM for these LIES, This will show you just how low the Republican will go.

    August 18, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Good Lord ... you're over 40, Paul! You shouldn't need your mommy to help you get a job!

    August 18, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Rob Ca

    The article says that Ryan is attacking Obama by telling a bunch of lies. Every single day it is the same lies over and over. The people running the campaign know that Mittens can not win by telling the truth. On the other hand.... Obama cares about medicare for current and FUTURE seniors. Obama cares about middle class families. Obama cares about the un-employed. Please avoid voting on what they say and vote on what you know is true.

    August 18, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. Southeast

    He's got his mom back, do u have yours? Vote obama

    August 18, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. drake mallard

    Ryan: 'Mom, you did build that'

    That right you didn't built that

    Like Marco Rubio did Paul likes to leave out important facts about his so call hard years. Mrs. Ryan lost her huband but continued to live the same life style. Yes the Ryan Family used Social Security checks but Mr. Ryan left his family finanically well off. Using Federal funds Mrs. Ryan went to school and the taxpayers paid for it. Married life is great and money is no problem like the Romneys. Paul Ryan and wife who is a Health Care Lobbyist have a plan ending Medicaid to seniors and health care to women.

    August 18, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. John

    This liar claims to protect Medicare when he wants to voucherize it so when the money runs out, you're 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!

    August 18, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17