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. Muffet

    I trust no one running for president with numbers when they hide their taxes,

    August 18, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  2. joel luongo

    President Obama was making reference to the roads and bridges that Government helps to build and repair... so companies can transport their goods and services from coast to coast! That was the meaning of Obama's " you didn't build that " comment about roads and bridges!

    August 18, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  3. mj

    Obama would be the most honest politician ever, if he would just save all of his speeches for Opposite Day.

    August 18, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  4. Af

    Ryan remember your mom is a rich woman, with a degre, as a business owner, what about the middleclass family who cannot afford to go back to school, the single parents who did not have the life insurance money from spouses,. Republican never care about poor people, like Romney has said, he is not concerned about the poor. Only Democrat will help the middle class. Obama 2012

    August 18, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  5. BOZO

    Go Ryan. I love your appearance in campaign trail, down to earth. Just put it on the table, debate and fine tune along the campaign and keep your thought first _ that is the strength of our nation anyway, we disagree but we ready to listen, compromise.

    August 18, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |

    Wow ! How Ryan's address for just 1 minute amazed and pershaded me !! He's so smart, sharp and stupendous.
    GO ROMNEY/RYAN IN 2012 !!!!!!

    August 18, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  7. Al

    He takes mommy to work with him. What a big boy!

    August 18, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. Super Mod

    We have Obama stating he saved Medicare. Medicare will be insolvent in 12 years.

    According to the 2012 Medicare trustee report on the CMS.GOV website: "The estimated exhaustion date for the HI trust fund remains at 2024, the same year shown in last year's report. As in past years, the Trustees have determined that the fund is not adequately financed over the next 10 years."

    Medicare will be bankrupt before I am even close to retiring. Obama is running around acting like he saved it. The system needs to be reformed or none of us are going to have health care when we need it most.

    August 18, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. wayne


    If romney and ryan are Laurel and hardy
    then Obama and byden must be lary, mo, and hillery must be curly

    both acts are funny but laurel and hardy smart and witty and lasting, the three stooges were highly educted but stuck doing slapstick.

    so this is how the race for the white house shapes up. we have the common men who make something of themselves who are smart, lasting. and the highly educated men who have advanced degrees but are stuck being known for slap stick.

    give me Laurel and Hardy (Romney Ryan) over the three stooges (Obama, Byden, and hillery)

    August 18, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  10. Mack

    It's a shame that people can be fooled into voted against their own interests. And yes you are voting against your interests since you aren't rich and your taxes are going to be raised to pay for yet another tax cut for the wealthy.

    August 18, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  11. kyle

    I see Obama's re-election staffers are still following the memo to post on this page. were not stupid

    August 18, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  12. MikeB

    Why is Obama proud of his ripping off medicare providers?

    August 19, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  13. Hent

    The Liberals follow a Failure "Obama" all because of a "D" after his name. When did the Liberals become the "Party of Failures" Obama the Lier-n-chief has done nothing for the people that support him. Can't wait to see Obama get kicked out of the White House.

    August 19, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  14. Georgie

    Really?, ...The GOP/Tea Party has no shame!

    August 19, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  15. Politifact

    Please do not accept any reference to 'mostly true' or 'mostly false' references on the part of our organization. These are merely the responses that President Obama's administration, via Jay Carney, have asked us to publish.

    August 19, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  16. Politifact

    Obama has lied to you, to me, and to our children. At some point, he, as our President, has to be held to the promises he has made. If he is not doing his job, he should be treated as each of us would. If we don't do our job, we are demoted or let go...time to tell Obama "you're fired"

    August 19, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    She must be so proud of the rotten SOB she raised!

    August 19, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  18. eciam

    Romney and Ryan......... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century, I agree.

    August 19, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. Byron Ellis

    Ryan needs his Mommy to attach Obama. Surely, if anything happened to her on stage it would have been Obama's fault.

    August 19, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  20. MarineWill

    Wow, and I thought Mitt Romney was phony! Listening to him speak is so painful. I wonder what his reponse to his AARP rating 10 of 100 is!!!!

    August 19, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. Tom

    "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.”

    So Ryan says government should keep the promise for his mother but not for me and my family. What does Ryan want to do with that money? Ryan wants to give the top 1% a tax cut.

    August 19, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  22. Tom

    "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.”

    So Ryan wants to keep the promise for his mother but not for me and my family. What does Ryan want to do with this money. He want to give the top 1% a tax brake they don't need.

    August 19, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  23. canchange

    OBAMA dont know he got three strikes he is out,never play baseball,only basket and golf.The American people electec him and give four year,never got a bugget,Obamacre,Solindra,kingstom pipe line,Medicaid,Bails out,Economic,Jobs,Welfare,unemploiment,socialist ideas;He miss all no even a foul ball he hit (LOL ) In 2012 the American people is ready and i believe they all ready got their decision OBAMA is out.GOD BLESS AMERICA AND MARK LEVIN THANKS

    August 19, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  24. Dan Slaby

    President Obama cracked down on waste, fraud and abuse in the privatized Medicare Advantage and redirected funds to close the drug donut hole and expand preventive services to seniors; Romney and Ryan want to restore $716 billion in waste, fraud and abuse – conservative frauds, they are.

    August 19, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  25. Dan Slaby

    America fought a revolutionary war to get rid of one king, why should we vote King and Queen Romney and their court jester Ryan to restore royalty in America?

    August 19, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
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