Paul Ryan Obamacare criticisms booed at AARP
September 21st, 2012
05:28 PM ET
2 years ago

Paul Ryan Obamacare criticisms booed at AARP

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan was prepared when seniors first responded inhospitably to his remarks about repealing Obamacare at the AARP conference in New Orleans Friday.

"I had a feeling there would be mixed reaction so let me get into it," the Republican vice presidential nominee said, after his first line about repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law was met with audible boos throughout the large convention room floor.

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The reception toward Mitt Romney's running mate improved but remained tepid even when he used his mother Betty Ryan Douglas, who was sitting in the front row with her older son Tobin, as an example of his commitment to protecting the entitlement program for seniors in or near retirement.

"I'm very proud of my mom, and I'm happy she is having a great retirement, Medicare is a big part of her security," Ryan said of his 78-year-old mother and retiree who lives part-time in Florida.

"Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my mom's generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.," he added.

Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, attended the AARP Life@50+ conference on Friday shortly after Obama addressed the group via satellite. Members of AARP – a nonprofit organization and a powerful lobbying group that boasts of having more than 37 million members – could submit questions to the nominees on their website.

As both campaigns make their appeals to the crucial senior demographic and make the case for ensuring long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security, the House Budget Committee chairman accused the Democratic president of putting politics before policy.

"Inaction today will mean sharp cuts tomorrow. Time and again this President has ducked the tough issues, he has put his own job security over your retirement security," continued Ryan, despite a smattering of boos coming from the audience. "Of course, he said he would be willing to work with Republicans but he has not moved an inch closer to common ground."

In addition to repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, Ryan said the Republican team is proposing a plan that "empowers future seniors to choose the coverage that works best for them from a list of plans that are required to offer at least the same level of benefits as traditional Medicare."

"This financial support system is designed to guarantee that seniors can always afford Medicare coverage – no exceptions," he added. "Our idea is to force insurance companies to compete against each other to better serve seniors, with more help for the poor and the sick – and less help for the wealthy."

The Wisconsin lawmaker praised the reform work in Medicare Part D, the program for prescription drugs, and touted their efforts to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats.

"And by the way, these aren't just Republican ideas. Medicare reforms based on choice and competition go back to the Clinton administration. Experts from both parties helped form this plan. Democrats in Congress have supported these ideas," said Ryan.

Seated in the front row, just a few seats away from Ryan's mother and brother, were a few women who, like many others in the convention hall, made comments throughout his speech Paula Tillman who was visiting from Washington, D.C. was unaware she was sitting so close to family members of the vice presidential hopeful, but she said if she had known they were there she would have made the same comments that included "Obama '12" and "that's a lie."

Later, while visiting a fruit stand with his mother in Florida, Ryan responded to the negative reaction in the room.

"Entitlement reform has unfortunately been made very partisan by partisans, and so I have gotten that kind of reaction and unfortunately it's what we come to expect because the politics of reforming entitlements has become very bitter and it's very unfortunate," he told reporters in Lakeland.


Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Timmeh

    Consider the source of the boos. AARP's a wing of the Democrat party. Hopefully there are some members who don't tow the leftist line of AARP.

    September 21, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. wr

    So what were they booing about? Do any of them actually have specific issues?

    September 21, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    This lyan wouldn't know a felling if it fell inside those baggy pants of his!
    You got exactly what you deserve. You are going to a crowd of seniors you want to kill without medical care with your vouchers. What do you expect?

    September 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. honest mari

    Lying Ryan baby face has no touch with the reality that our seniors live with every day just like his partner Robme Romney. So are we surprised. ? God bless America.

    September 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Frank

    Yeah, wr, did you miss the part about the booing being in response to "repealing Obamacare?" Remember, it's virtually identical to what Romneycare was in Romney's home state.

    September 21, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. A Desperate Situation

    I booed him and I wasn't even there.

    September 21, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Thomas

    @Timmeh
    Consider the source of the boos. AARP's a wing of the Democrat party. Hopefully there are some members who don't tow the leftist line of AARP.
    ---–

    Think what you want , AARP has benefited all seniors . What is with you people that divide on party line ?

    September 21, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Fact

    Obama Cares!

    September 21, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Joyce

    They were booing because they know that Romney/Ryan want to get rid of medicare. Senior citizens have worked hard all their lives for their golden years and Romney/Ryan want to take it away. They are part of that 47% and remember, they paid into Social Security and Medicare. They are not moochers or slackers.

    September 21, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    No wonder they hate the ACA. Close the prescription drug loophole and boom...suddenly a whole bunch of seniors are getting their medications and aren't as easily angered, frightened and confused by GOP demagoguery.

    September 21, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. 100 % ETHIO

    American jobs are based on experience.

    What is on Ryan jewel resume??

    September 21, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. kathy kohlbrand

    Reading the hateful ignorant comments of the left is depressing. As far as character goes, Mitt is the one who selflessly helped others all of his life, while at the same time making his own money. He also took no salary as MA governor and put democrats in his cabinet. Obama rode everyone's coattails in the state and US senate. Before that he was engagd in shady business deals with slumlords in Chicago. Now he and Michelle live it up at the white house while our country is ryn into the ground

    September 21, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    This animal is so pathetic. He does not know as to what he is saying. Next time any one from GOP bunch says repeal of Healthcare, just kick that animal. It took fifty years to pass it. Nasty idiot.

    September 21, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. Mike

    Republicans are only interested in common ground if the Democrats capitulate to their extreme, rich-friendly trickle-down demands. They don't know the meaning of "compromise".

    September 21, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Oops, hehe...I meant "prescription drug donut hole" lol

    September 21, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Mitt is the one who selflessly helped others all of his life"

    Hmmm...if $250M is "selfless" then call me Jesus and sign me the frig up.

    September 21, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Old people aren't gonna suffer that fool!!

    September 21, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. jimmyjones

    lol at kathy kohlbrand.
    Riiight, Romney gave to others his whole life. Especially all those thousands he left jobless after his Bain capital closed down their businesses.

    September 21, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Pete

    Ryan didn't say just well off she is living in Wisconsin and in Lauderdale by the Sea in an exclusive secluded condo down near the ocean,it being gated and guards..Probibly over one million per condo,yah she's struggling like Ryan using his fathers SocialSecurity survivors benefits to go to college,to bad his father a sucessfull construction company owner,a millionair with state and federal contracts that made him wealthy as well as sucessfull.These seniors need to know the truth and Pres.Obama,Joe Biden are going to tell them the multiple choice candidate has to go and Romney the one!!

    September 21, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. strangerq

    So what were they booing about? Do any of them actually have specific issues?

    ^ UH yes. His plan to replace medicare with a voucher. It stinks.

    September 21, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  21. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Booing because they know this guy is lying to them... Even IF his mom likes him....

    September 21, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. RepublicanNoMore

    And yet Ryan, adding with umpteen other hundred congressmen/women will leave office without ever having to pay a penny into social security & they will have healthcare benefits fir the rest of their lives. No, they do not pay a premium, either.

    September 21, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. strangerq

    No wonder they hate the ACA. Close the prescription drug loophole and boom...suddenly a whole bunch of seniors are getting their medications and aren't as easily angered, frightened and confused by GOP demagoguery.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And then he tells them he'll repeal it, and wait for it.... Romney comes along and says – he won't repeal the parts of it he likes, and, wait for it – Romney's handlers come along and say "April fool", just kidding.

    These clowns are the most incompetent, transparently dishonsts pin-heads to ever run for the oval office.

    September 21, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. strangerq

    He also took no salary as MA governor and put democrats in his cabinet...

    ^ He quit on Massachussets after causing the state to lose jobs and people do to his indifferent governince.

    Then he ran for President instead, and lost.

    Karma – is like that.

    September 21, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. John

    Insurance companies squeezed the $600 billion used to close the donut hole, can't deny you for a pre exising condition even cancer....Romney suggests that to be covered for cancer, you had to have insurance continuously your whole life or the insurance company can still deny coverage to you.....Talk about a crock of BS......their plan is an all out war on seniors..the only question is will the seniors read between the lines to see who their coverage would be decimated.

    September 21, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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