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. Phil Thomas

    AARP is leftist ? you guys on the right are funny any one or thing that does not see things the way you want is left or socialist or some garbage. The guy got boo'd becase he lied on national TV several times and people know his plans.

    September 21, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. marioacc1

    Words spoken forthemselves

    September 21, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. JAZ

    I have been reading posts from a bunch of grumpy, nasty seniors who have no clue what they're talking about. All you want is what's coming to you and the hell with anyone else, is that it? You don't want to save the program for the future for your children and grandchildren? Do you even listen or read the details of the Romney /Ryan plan or do you have your nose so far up Obamas rear you can't see anything else? I think that's it more than anything.

    September 21, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Facts don't Lie

    when they started booing perhaps Ryan should have just yelled out STOP IT!

    September 21, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. Name

    Of course the head line to the article is that Ryan was booed.....just what leftist CNN wants you to believe. On fox news it says he was booed and applauded. Lord, I hope people wake up and realize CNN ONLY reports what looks good for the democrats. Now all CNN has to say about Romney and taxes is why did he bother releasing them, seriously, CNN attacked him about it for weeks!

    September 21, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Brud

    Why wouldn't they boo? The R/R plan is to decimate Medicare so they can give larger tax cuts to the likes of Romney and the fat cats on Wall Street. They're only paying a 14% income tax rate on their total income while guys like you and me are paying north of 28%, double Mitt's rate.

    And, he won't reveal his tax returns prior to beginning his run for the presidency. He's a shifty one, that's for sure.

    September 21, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    Timmeh –

    AARP is an arm of the Democratic Party? That is truly one of the most asinine thing I've heard in sometime. By the way, it's not "tow" the line, or "tote" the line, as I've seen in some of you moronic right-winger's comments, it's "toe" the line. No charge for the schooling, nimrods.

    September 21, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. IVOTE

    Not only was Paul Lyon booded; They also walked out on him.

    September 21, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. SafeJourney

    lol, ol' Lyin Ryan, Americas senior see right thru your lies. Bye bye Romney and Lyin Ryan.

    September 21, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. dontbow

    The lie would be to defend medicare as something that is going to work for genereations to come. it WONT and now is the time to fix this mess. not by removing benefits from seniors but restructuring the system. Romney 2012!

    September 21, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. youpeople

    You go old phartz!

    September 21, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Grant C

    Timmeh: If AARP was a wing of the Democratic party Romney would be even more doomed than he already is. Come join us all in reality please.

    September 21, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. larrylinn

    Ryan deserved the BOO'S from our senior citizens!

    September 21, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. Margaret

    Everyone who believes that Ryan's Mom lives on just Social Security and Medicare raise your hand.

    September 21, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: Mittens 47% ... Veterans, grandma and the disabled are all moochers!

    Rock on, Granny and Gramps!!!!!

    September 21, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. RudyG

    WOW!!! What hatred. And these people say Obama has brought hope and change, and a different tone.......
    Yeah, it's different alright! Nastier and more gloomy and dark than anything I've ever seen. What desperation!!

    September 21, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Dejavu65

    Ryan and Romney cannot fool us anymore, anyone who is paying attention and doing research know that they are only for the very Rich and want to do away with medicare, no thanks you,,,,,,Obama 2012!

    September 21, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. Bocephus Moonshine

    "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."

    ... because letting insurance companies compete against each other has worked out so well already. That's why insurance is cheap and we didn't need Obamacare to make sure insurance covered existing conditions and didn't drop people for being sick. [/sarcasm]

    September 21, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. Smokey66

    Well if both sides quit using mandatory programs as bones of contention maybe there'd be less distrust and defensive concern on Main Street, USA. Shore up these programs for today, tomorrow and forever. It's an obligation that they cannot run from, nor should they. Some people out here will work for over 50 years and pay into the local and state tax system on top of the federal system. A lot are good people that never burdened society in any way. So let's just get some government politicians who realize how significant mandatory programs are to the well being of our society. Without using a barbed dagger to try to harass or belittle the other side. This is one area both parties have to work on together. If they could just listen to themselves sometimes and realize how spiteful and vicious they sound, maybe they would take the time to think before they speak.

    September 21, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. modesto jim

    I have a specific complaint about lyan Ryans'plan – the increase in the value of the vouchers will be tagged to the rate of inflation, not the cost of medicine which is increasing faster, so as the disparity between cost of care and value of vouchers increases, seniors will be forced to pay more and more out of pocket until they can no longer afford care. And the notion about insurance companies competing to offer policies – GIVE ME A BREAK – they will do their utmost to cherry pick the healthy and deny coverage to the sick.

    September 21, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. Garry

    Tea Party radicals cheered Paul Ryan's no compromise stance on cuts to the social safety net. He has lied about cuts to Medicare! What does he expect?

    September 21, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. sayer

    Go home, little boy.

    September 21, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. geggyg

    If Romney brings in vouchers for Medicare for those currently under 65 , the current medicare system wont last much longer than 5 years or so, with less money put into the pool to cover the current members but with expenditure falling at a slower rate ( natural death rate increased medial problems as the rest grow older , than revenue falls. Romney in his second term would say have get rid of the current system , as a good business decision and under normal actuarial rules of insurance.

    September 21, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. Silva

    I would've told Ryan to take his VOUCHERS and COUPONS and shove them!
    Leave Medicare alone!

    September 21, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    @ Timmeh

    so I guess what you're saying is the AARP is to the Democrats as the NRA is to the Republicans. Hey fair enough and I'll take the AARP which I am a proud member of to be on my side anytime thank you very much.

    September 21, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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