Paul Ryan Obamacare criticisms booed at AARP
September 21st, 2012
05:28 PM ET
6 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. Sorensen

    Why did they even let this lying rubberface in the door?

    September 21, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. rock woman

    Yay, AARP!

    September 21, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. CBR

    Medicare like any other federal program needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that the mission is being fulfilled. That does not mean to dump it in favor of a new plan. Medicare bills need to be paid on time. Many different procedures must be approved first to make sure that Medicare will pay for the procedure.

    We do rely on medicare. We also e=rely on our retirement insurance which stipulates where we can buy drugs. Our private pharmacy is not on the list. In fact, the only pharmacy listed in CVS. Not to worry – we will only do business with the big companies so that they can gather more income. We must use CVS and I am sure other insurance plans call for other big box drugstores to fill your prescriptions. No room for small businesses here. Hey, the GOP is the party of small businesses except when they cannot match the prices from the big pharmacies. How many small pharmacies are even left in this country?

    September 21, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Thomas

    @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

    Read my Lips

    GW Bush = WM Romney x2

    September 21, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. Blinded by the republican lie

    Lmao!!! What wasn't reported was that quite a few people walked out while he was still talking...I guess you have to check their local news in Louisiana..My gut hurts from laughing so hard.

    September 21, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    The 47% ers have spoken Ryan/Romney is a bad idea for this country.

    September 21, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. Steve

    If you read the official reports, you would know that Ryan was honest about Obama double counting the $716B and that under Obamacare, medicare goes broke in 10 years – and has the sources to back it up.

    September 21, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Common Sensus

    Figures. The nerve of those lazy retirees! Paying into the Soc. Security system all these years and now acting like victims, as if the gov't OWES them something. I guess Mittens and Lyin Ryan will never convince them to take personal responsibility for their lives!

    September 21, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. 333maxwell

    I can only imagine how hard it was, to listen to this kid, knowing they are paying for his Government ran health care policy that is among'st the best coverage out there and certainly better than anything their medicare provides, tell these folks that every American doesn't deserve much the same as he get's.

    September 21, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. scott

    Old people. most of them in the audience were most likely senile. They did not know what they were booing about, all they knew was being told to boo.

    September 21, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. Elphaba

    Self Distruct! Self Distruct. Self Distruct.

    September 21, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. lyn

    I am not surprise that they boo at Ryan the 47% of people that Romney said that they are victims was in that room, these seniors can see that whatever comes out of Romney & Ryan mouth are hate & lies, so I say great job for booing.

    September 21, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. wifey

    AARP a wing of the Democrat party

    September 21, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. Eric

    AARP is not a branch of the Democratic party! Are you nuts? AARP is owned by United Healthcare, which is as Republican as you can get! It's just that people know Paul Ryan is a shill for the super-rich, and that he's willing to sell out Medicare from anyone under the age of 55, because he thinks they won't understand what they just gave away. The shame!

    September 21, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Delilah

    Ryan deserves the boos! He wants to make Medicare a voucher program! He wants repeal Obamacare which would end the Rx doughnut hole coverage for seniors! Seniors will end up paying more for health insurance and Rxs. Ryan and Romney are incompetent. When Romney calls 47% of Americans needy, moochers, dependent & victims he is referring to ALL seniors on Medicare & Social Security and our Military who pay no federal income taxes while serving. It also includes people on disability and the poor! Shame on Romney!!! Romney is the real moocher, taking tax credits to the hilt and stashing money offshore to avoid taxes. The American people are getting very wise to this!

    September 21, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |

    A non sequitur comment Ryan know he can have his suits tailored? Sheesh.

    September 21, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. Republican who supports President Obama

    The GOP ticket this year is an epic failure. They should expect more of the same when they face fair-minded folks – please boo and vote. They really have not stated what is really wrong about Obamacare except that it was passed by the Dems. They had plenty of opportunities to help shape the law in good faith but they instead decided to sit in the corner and act like a spoiled child. The GOP is deaf – they were elected to WORK and not play partisan bedfellows.

    Face up to it – the law is fine the way it is and it is totally legal. Playing "anti-everything president Obama does" is not a path to victory nor is it leadership.

    Remember to get out there and vote.

    September 21, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. Steve

    Hiding behind his mothers skirts. What a guy.

    September 21, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. normajean @ verizon ,com

    As a very old senior...I would boo anything he said against medicare and AARP because they are part of the organizations that have kept me here for a number of happy old years!!!

    September 21, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Name

    The free market is not the answer to every issue any more than govt is.

    September 21, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  21. Fredie

    the baby face got what he deserved. Would he go public again?

    September 21, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |

    Ryan and Romney, are as heartless as they come. This sinister duo needs to be defeated and not allowed nowhere near the White House.

    September 21, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  23. CherryStrWhiz

    Well let's see how long it take's for ryan to get his tail out from between his legs!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. Legalize Reason

    "Of course, he said he would be willing to work with Republicans but he has not moved an inch closer to common ground."

    Ryan, stop tallking gibberish. There can be no common ground when your goal is to repeal the Healthcare Reform Act and you will not move off of that position. Read the law and look at the parts of it that are already making a difference. I would love to hear you explain what an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is and why you think that it will not work.
    Why bother with details when all you want to do is keep the private health insurance companies in place so their CEO's can take home multimillion dollar bonuses every year while refusing treatment. I only hope that the voters in this country are wise enough to see through this nonsense and sent Ryan, Cantor and the rest of their ilk packing in November.

    September 21, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. Bette

    I was there for both Rep. Ryan and President Obama. Do you know they told people the auditorium was full and people were denied entrance to hear Rep. Ryan? It was only about 25% full! My husband, along with many others were denied entry. I don't understand heckling and booing. If you don't want to listen, then politely leave. Show some class. I wanted to hear both speak and was shocked at the rudeness. Then for AARP to deny people entrance. We brought friends today and they now want no part of AARP. That must be the plan... Weed those of us out who do not follow like blind sheep? I felt threatened by the classless people around me today.

    September 22, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
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