Ryan highlights his mom in attacking Obama
August 18th, 2012
01:13 PM ET
9 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.

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"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. dee

    "What a "Rigged" joke!! Laughable! Floridians are off the scale "Lunacy"!!! Shameful, voter "Rigging!!!! WOW!

    August 18, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. luke,az

    Romney/Ryan the Vulture/Voucher candidates are puppets for the 1%. These guys are only showing 2 years of tax returns, what a joke. SHOW US YOUR TAXES !!!

    August 18, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Becca

    Why are these 2 bashing each other so bad????? It is beyond me. I think that Both the president and the Mitten kid just should push on what each has to say about what they can offer to the american people and leave the rest alone. Geezzzzzzz. I hate to hear all the Bashing of each other it is getting old already.

    August 18, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    The GOP is nothing more than the American Taliban. The war on women is real, and Ryan's mom is just a pawn for their propaganda. Voting GOP is NOT american. Bin Laden is dead because of bullets. We must now conquer the TALIBANgelicals with votes.

    August 18, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. bb

    Way to go MR VP, I cant wait til there are intelligent people back in the white house OBLUNDER HAS TO GO

    August 18, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Mr. Ryan promises to protect Medicare ... by privatizing Medicare and hand delivering
    it to private investors ... while he hides behinds his mom's shirttail.

    Yeah, we got a choice alright. Believe the budget hawk railing against
    Stimulus publically while begging for $24 million privately, or his
    partner ... the man who lied to get on the ballot when running for
    Governor, you know who he is, that man who can't quite
    make up his mind where he resides - tax wise anyway - or has resided.

    Richard Nixon – I'm not a crook
    Mitt Romney – Trust me, I'm not either
    Two birds of a feather.

    As for me and mine, we're gonna stick with Obama.

    August 18, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. annie s

    Medicare was there for Ryan's family. He just doesn't want it to be there for yours. I listened to this liar's speech and wanted to gag – not just at him, but at the deluded seniors who applauded him.

    August 18, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Romney and Ryan... Liar and liar.

    August 18, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. EX Republican

    Ryan just like Romney a big liar..Ryan medicare plan is to hurt seniors. Ryan why did you accept stimulas package.

    August 18, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Logic N LA

    So- Ryan wants to protect his mother by raising her Medicare expanse by 6000.00!
    And, Romney read a report say ACA will SPEND 716 Billion over 10 years and thinks is says it will gut Medicare by that same amount.
    This si not the team I want running my government- they can't read.

    August 18, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Lori

    Keep telling the lies Paul. You know the truth about the 716 billion. Your mother should be ashamed.

    August 18, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Bijay Adhikari

    Its so sad that money is buying opinions!! this can't be happening!! its a slap to democracy if Romney wins!! This isn't Oligocracy!!

    August 18, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. beau

    I used to be a repub till congress was taken over by the tea party and Romney as our candidate.I cannot support a man who is a draft dodger and a tax evader.The repub congress has done nothing for vets,nothing for the middleclass.All of the good repubs have gone or have been forced out by the extremists that care nothing for the average joe or veterans like myself.Until we get real candidates that care for the middleclass and vets I will not vote for the repubs.Honor and respect,and caring for this nation is what the repubs used to stand for ,now we have wackjobs from the tea party holding america hostage and thats as un patriotic as it gets,it is hurting many americans,our economy and soldiers who are looking for work. Romney is not the answer he is the problem with America with his lies and phony religion...Sorry this voter will stay an ex repub till the party becomes honerable again.

    August 18, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Numyorangay

    You know, enough already! They stage hecklers at their rallies, bus in black people to put behind them (shame on you black people if you're accepting remuneration for sitting behind these white supremacist). The guy ripping up his sign at the rally in Virginia certainly looked like a Ryan supporter and he certainly would have met with more resistance from such a supportive crowd. So now comes Mama Ryan. . .

    August 18, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. beau

    Dear Hispanics,
    If any of you are considering handing your vote to the GOP, please visit the Fox Entertainment News comment section under any article that mentions race or immigration. Read the comments (or read the comments from conservatives visiting this website), and ask yourself if you want to be on the same side as these "people."Those comments were so disgusting that Fox decided to shut down comments on their articles. You can't comment on articles anymore there. A left wing Mexican Mormon and an Indian Hindu (no, not Native American, the other kind).
    Now that's what I call a right wing Christian conservative dream ticket.
    This has to be a funny movie, this cannot be real.

    August 18, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Cassie

    Any time you use your mother because you can't explain your plan to the people it makes you less of a man or woman. Atleast stand up defend your position don't use your mother to do it you are only insulting the retirement community and there intelligence to see through what is fact and fiction.

    August 18, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. beau

    The Ryan choice is EXCELLENT
    Ryan has the courage to challenge Big socialist government programs like Social Security and Medicare.
    Politicians have been deathly afraid to challenge senior citizens on Social Security and Medicare because they are such a powerful voting block
    But Senior Citizens have been feeding at the government trough for too long.
    It's time Seniors learned that nothing is "Free" and that WELFARE FOR THE ELDERLY is no different from welfare for the poor.
    American seniors are just going to have to learn to save their money and rely on themselves in their old age.
    It's time to end the two biggest socialist programs in the federal government....MEDICARE and SOCIAL SECURITY.
    And the Romney/Ryan team is the ones to do it.
    You are going to pay your way now old people, no more free lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

    August 18, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Rich Parks

    Sure Ryan's trying to guarantee no changes in Medicare to people over 55 (yet the donut hole reopens) as Romney and the Head uncompromising Congressional Account teacher Ryan know the over 55 are a massive voting block. People under 55 have to pony up the difference in what Medicare gives them and what they might want with ever increasing medical cost continuously rising, There is no cost of living built into Ryan's Medicare vouchers, so the successful again have no problem upgrading to more expensive plans; The choice most will get is to have no choice and Medicare will be the common default, in whatever diminished form it takes by then, Just like RICH can get loans as there is no risk to the banks proving the old adage "If you don't need the money, banks will loan you some" I'm sure an person would endorse a plan that brings their effective income tax rate to under 1%, (who wouldn't) but that only effects the 1%. Here is the Romney bumper sticker on his cars "Under 1% for the 1 %"

    August 18, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. The Independent Voter

    What a hypocrite this guy is. He wants to refuse federal funding for everyone everywhere in this country except for the people in his own district. And he denied and lied and claimed he could not remember because it was too long ago... And he really believed he could go on deceiving us. Yes, he does think we are THAT stupid.

    August 18, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Shame on Ryan for using his mother to sell a flawed and heartless Medicare proposal to seniors. How many retirees can afford the $6,000 in higher costs for Medicare?

    August 18, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. dreamer96

    I watched part of his speech and Paul Ryan is lying about the money pulled from Medicare under Obamacare...it is in part used to fill the doughnut hole and cover medical visits and durgs for seniors...so it is helping the seniors...under his own plan Paul Ryan also takes money, the same amount and uses it for more tax cuts for the rich....Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney do not need to worry about their parents..they get the best...and they will say anything to the reat of America to win this election...

    August 18, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. FredKelly

    You can believe that Florida seniors were listening to Ryan intently, even if CNN downplays the coverage. It was a great speech. I think it's safe to say that Obama just lost Florida.

    August 18, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Jerubbaal

    I wonder how many seniors have the means to live in Florida part time? Life must be great for the aristocracy , let the serfs choose to eat cake or purchase their meds. How dare they want the dignity of having both.

    August 18, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. kathy/Minnesota

    So Paul, you have no problem using your mom as a prop, and have no problem lying (716B...lie) in front of her and her friends? SHAME ON YOU, I WOULD "NEVER" put my mother in that position. If your going to "LIE" (THIS GOES FOR ANYONE) don't use your mom, she will have to live with that, once the lie is exposed. THINK!!!!! It's just not fair to put that burden on her shoulders, WRONG, WRONG WRONG ON SOOOOO MANY LEVELS.

    August 18, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Romney/Ryan-The only trusted way forward.

    August 18, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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