Whiteboard lessons from the campaign trail
August 16th, 2012
08:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Whiteboard lessons from the campaign trail

(CNN) – It's back to the drawing board for the presidential campaigns.

Both sides took to whiteboards Thursday to explain their competing theories over how certain budget proposals affect Medicare - the popular entitlement program for seniors.

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Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney first used a whiteboard to tutor reporters in South Carolina on Thursday, jotting down numbers as he explained his plan to reform Medicare and reiterating attacks that Obama cut $716 billion from the program.

"The differences in our Medicare perspective could not be more stark and dramatic," Romney said at a news conference in South Carolina. "As the seniors in America understand what the president's plan is doing to Medicare, they're going to find it unacceptable."

Romney used his whiteboard to explain that under President Barack Obama's plan Medicare Part A, which includes inpatient care in hospitals, would run out for the next generation of seniors, also saying his plan would make Medicare "solvent."

President Obama's campaign refuted the explanation, releasing their own whiteboard lesson in an email to reporters to explain their side of the Medicare debate.

The Obama campaign whiteboard diagram uses the same format as Romney's whiteboard lecture, juxtaposing the president's Medicare plan and his Republican rival's, and using bullet points to highlight what the campaign claims would be the affects of each side's plan to seniors and the "Next Gen."

"The President has extended the life of the program by nearly a decade. If Romney had his way, it would run out of money by 2016," the Obama campaign said in a statement about their whiteboard, adding that the Affordable Care Act would save $716 billion without cutting benefits to the program's recipients.

Republicans, however, argue Obama's plan reallocates funds from Medicare to support Obama's signature healthcare legislation.

The Obama campaign statement about the release of the whiteboard links the presumptive GOP nominee with his newly minted running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the architect of the House budget proposal that democrats have said would "gut" Medicare for seniors.

"Congressman Ryan included the same savings in his budget, which Romney called 'marvelous' and said he'd sign into law," the statement said.

"But it makes sense that Romney wouldn't want to tell the truth: the Romney-Ryan budget eliminates the guarantee of Medicare and instead provides people with a voucher to buy health care," the Obama campaign said in the statement. "In fact, a voucher plan authored by Paul Ryan and endorsed by Romney would cost future retirees an additional $6,400."

Romney says his plan would partially privatize Medicare for future seniors but would also give the option for access to the current program. It would also involve means-testing the program's recipients based on income levels to determine government funds.

The notable shift in the political discussion from job numbers and the economy to Medicare and health care reform came after Romney's announcement of his choice of running mate. Democrats have called Ryan's budget proposal 'radical,' altering the Medicare program.

The Romney campaign, in turn, has said they are taking the offensive on the Medicare debate, dispelling that argument that the Obama campaign won the message war in light of the current topic of conversation on the campaign trail. The Republican's campaign also released a television ad Wednesday hammering home the campaign's message.

The Obama campaign has yet to release an ad solidifying their position on Medicare but campaign officials said in conference call Thursday that the response isn't far off.

"We are the ones that brought up the topic," Romney told reporters in South Carolina when asked if the issue was a distraction from his campaign’s economic message.

–CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Yonni

    His wife thinks he is our savior (She think he will save America), but the guy is a liar. Look at him standing in front a debunked claim have no shame.

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. myviewis

    Okay, I saw Romney working mathematics on the board and discussing his plan. Now, let's see President Obama work his mathematics on the board and discuss his plan and no fancy computer, no telepromter.

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Why can't he use that white board to show us his taxes ?

    August 16, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. griffbos

    what this stroy doesn't say nor will Mitt tell you, Romneycare was funded by raiding medicare of 500 million a year to date it has taken 3 billion from the fund............

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    "Romney says his plan would partially privatize Medicare for future seniors but would also give the option for access to the current program. It would also involve means-testing the program's recipients based on income levels to determine government funds."

    Anyone else buying into the LAST GRANNY STANDING option? Optional, my foot. Seniors will be forced to +choose+ themselves right out of traditional Medicare and into a voucher within months of this plan ever becoming law. No way Republicans are going to continue supporting two different plans while waiting for the last of the Grams and Gramps opting to keep their Medicare die out. Hell, Republicans don't want Medicare anymore today than they did when it was first started. This is the first step of total elimination.

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Privatiation is not a good idea because it reduces accountablity.

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  7. Af

    Ryomney/Ryan want to privatize MEDICARE TO DONALD TRUMP, SHELDON ADELSON, KARL ROVE TEA PARTY BAGGER. Therefore middle class and average america will receive a VOUCHER ( a credit card) to purchase their insurance, while Romney and Ryan family will get their FREE INSURANCE for live.

    August 16, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. PJ

    The other side of Romney's board says "No Change". What is so hard about showing the entire picture?

    August 16, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Jessica

    That's not a whiteboard. It's the Official Romney Etch-a-Sketch.

    August 16, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Marty, FL

    "No change" Romney was blatantly lying again on his board.

    Romney promised to repeal seniors' ACA Medicare savings whereby reinstating doughnut holes in their coverage without offering a specific replacement.

    August 16, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. SafeJourney

    What a bunch of BS. Romney said today he agrees with the Ryan budget plan that would give tax breaks to the Rich like Mitt and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.

    August 17, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  12. Anthony

    Medicare is not adequately funded; that is why it is going bankrupt. If Romney restores the cuts, Medicare will run out of funding for impatient care in 2016, instead of 2024. Is this what Romney wants?

    August 17, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. CNN Fan

    it is so funny when I watched Romney made the dump ever presentation about his Medicare Plan....If you watched the Video ..you will laugh....He is not the smart guy as Ryan...I think Romney should give it to Ryan make that presentation...haha

    August 17, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. Orlando R

    Cant wait for the upcoming debates...people will see Mitt Romney is proposing the same failed trickle down economics that got us into this mess in the first place, and his policies only bemefit the ultra rich..

    August 17, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. normajean @ verizon ,com

    So both parties were acting like school teachers with the white boards.....at least if you have been reading, listening and watching, you would know that the presidents board was complete and understandable....while Rommnies was not acceptable in any case. !!! I could say this more strongly having followed this act very closely but the non readers belieive what they want to!!! The president has explained this problem very clearly and I think honestly. As a voter to whom our Medical Plan is very important....I'll take Obamas explanation happily!!!!!!

    August 17, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  16. J.V.Hodgson

    Instead of this stupid rhetorical debate the media is promoting ( and all the candidates) that does not take as its base the starting points that factually exist.
    1) Ryans budget, QED medicare, medicaid proposals passed the House and went to the Senate but failed to get accepted. Like it or not that is the official Republican position, going into this election.
    2) Obama's position is clear since the PPACA passed on both medicare and medicaid= the democratic position.
    Enter Romney who says:-
    a) He supports the Ryan budget before appointing him nominee Republican Vice president candidtae which he does.
    b) Then he says I have a plan Medicare its ( not fully detailed and defined) not quite the same as Ryans but I am President ( or will be) so its my plan you need to vote on.. ( congress needs to change thier minds). ha ha he already assumes his god like power to control the House and Senate to change what they once passed as Republicans to his version, and he takes no account of Washington gridlock tactics... you dont get those in a Bain capital you owned 100% and were CEO of until whatever date you choose.
    QED please analyse, question evaluate on a common basis eg CBO
    1) Ryan budget.
    2) PPACA
    3) Romney proposal, or say it cannot be evaluated until a, b.c data provided.
    My point is give me a common independent evaluation of 1,2,3 above i.e CBO
    Then you can add the spin numbers and words of the Best/ Worse democratic leaning agency evaluators outcomes and the same for Republicans
    Knowing me i'll still have a headache, cannot decide on the numbers and facts but will go and vote for whom as a person I trust most to do the right thing in Congress. If he signed up to any PAC's demands or pledge needs he/she already lost my vote. I do not want my elected representative pledged to any PAC or religious group.

    August 17, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  17. MaryM

    Next time you have a job interview, and you are asked for references, try this: "I have given all you people everything you are going to get." and let me know if you get the job.

    August 17, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |