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. Vidyashanti

    If politician lies or tells a partial truth how can one expect them to tell the truth to Public? Shame. If affordable care is strike down as promise preventative screen and drug benefits in donut hole will be dropped. That costs significantly to seniors who have no income other then SSI. How do they plan to pay for Medicare for 55+ if younger generation is given vouchers. Hope younger generation does not take this bait because Voucher has fixed value and health industry has shown that premium goes up by 3 to 5X inflation rate.

    August 19, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  2. Evan

    Hey Ryan take away your moms Medicare and Social Security and give vouchers after two years we check and if she things everything is going fine we all adopt your plan. Deal? One more condition, she has to live with fix income, like most of retirees.

    August 19, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. Mark-Independent

    Who on earth will vote for Mitt Romney. As an idependent voter, I dont trust Mitt Romney. Mit Romney has no core adn to this day we dont know what he really stands for. I have spoken to many folks across party line mostly indepedents that dont like Mitt Romney. His tax issue is a big one, his business record with Bain Caital and all of his foreign investments are too much for the American people to handle. Mitt gets angy when the American people simply want answers. Then he pick Paul Ryan, a tea party convervative and also a congressman who has been in washington and is part of the tea party congress who is curretly at a 10% percent approval rating, the lowes in history. Ryan and all of his collegues in congress only have one goal and is to try to defeat the president. The congress of 2010 did not do one single thing, and they all need to bee defeated. We Americans know that we must NOT go back to the Bush era that coused this nation to go into a recession, we will not go back..No BUSH NOT MITT. If Ryan and Company wins the tea party has a victory.

    The President may not be perfect but has got us out of the biggest mess he inherited, the great recession. The car industy is back on full swing.. Housing is picking up, construction is up...Retail is up , the stock market is doning well....4.4 million jobs have been created and the list goes on....I will gladly suppor the prsident and like so many people I spoke to, the president deserved four more year to continue to get us of out of the hole the Bush adminstration laid out for us....

    August 19, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. John

    Ryan's family has been making money from government contracts for generations. Ryan himself has taken social security after his father's death. Now he wants to gut it. This fool had a blank slate for a brain until he read Ayn Rand. He's no different than an Mormon or an Scientologist.

    August 19, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  5. chedar888

    A dose of reality. Here is the math. Let's see, the cost of a premium for 64 years old today is $1,500 per month. If you are 55 now it will be 12,years before you can hit 67. At a minimum, the insurance raise their premium of 15-17% per year. When you reach 67, the premium will be $7400 per month. Average social security recipient is $ 1500 per month. The government tagged an inflation of 3% per year. When you reach 67 and you are eligible for Medicare. You received a SS of $2,300 per month. Assuming Ryan is generous to give you a voucher of $5,100 per month, and you shell out the rest of your SS to pay for the rest of your health care premium. You won't have anything left to pay for even a dog food on your next meal. 

    August 19, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  6. Miki801

    The reason that the villiages ia a must stop for politicos is that it has crowd control. When Republican Gov. Scott was the the audience was not only restricted to residents, but residents with oposing vews were not admitted to the common area. The results were impressive for Scott, but really upset many residents. All that aside, medicare better take care of Ryan's mother, because as a Ayn Rand fan, Ryan won't take care of her.

    August 19, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  7. Joanne Williams

    Paul Ryan talks only about what he will do with Medicare for older people. He says nothing about how he will cut Medicare for the next generation. Always listen to what Paul Ryan doesn't say.

    August 19, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  8. Bill

    One small problem Ryan, take a look at your mom and then take a look at the rest of America's senior citizens...Notice any differences? I do! Your mom looks to be pretty healthy and I'm guessing having a son as a VP candidate doesn't hurt either...Other senior citizens don't look so healthy and don't have the luxuary as having a son as a VP candidate and therefore don't have access to that extra supply of income....The fact is under Obama more senior citizens and lower income families would be able to use medicare and medicaid...So get overself yourself Ryan you are not the answer!

    August 19, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  9. SafeJourney

    71 year old man thrown to the ground and handcuffed at Ryan event while Ryan laughs and said hope he took his blood presure medicine

    August 19, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. fryuujin

    so his mom shows up. what did you think she was going to say, my son is a POS? another reason anyone over 71 shouldn't be allow to vote. they had 50 years, a Fing half a century to get it right and they Fing failed.

    August 19, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  11. GeorgiaPeachie

    According to the testimony of Kathleen Sebelius, obama has“double counted” the money that is being saved from Medicare reform and that “saved money” is being used for obamacare.

    HOW is obama “saving” $716 Billion (was previously estimated at $500 Billion) from Medicare costs? Per Sebelius and obama, they are saving money by “a slowdown in the growth rate of Medicare”.

    WHAT is obama doing with that “saved” money? He admits he is using it for funding obamacare. But we all know that you can’t use the $716B for BOTH funding and preserving Medicare!

    HOW will Romney handle Medicare? Romney will also rely on a savings from Medicare via the slowdown in growth rate. Those are the same.
    WHAT will Romney do with the “saved” money? He will put it toward “shoring up Medicare” so that it won’t go bankrupt by 2017.

    August 19, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  12. J Arquipway

    "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.

    Which is a blatant lie. Sections 3601 and 3602 of the Affordable Care Act make it unlawful to use the act to reduce Medicare or Medicare Advantage benefits as originally defined by the Social Security Act that setup Medicare. And that same clause directs the savings to extend the Medicare Trust fund (8 years by estimates) – not to pay for something else. This isn't merely political rhetoric. It's the law which Ryan should know because he voted against it.

    August 19, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Sadie Boyd

    How absurd...his mother doesn't need Medicare...he is a paper airplane flying everywhere with no real gear on top!

    August 19, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  14. GeorgiaPeachie

    The choice between the two couldn't be clearer. obama has taken $716 Billion from "savings" in Medicare and used those funds for obamacare. Romney will take those same "$716 Billion "savings' and shore up Medicare.

    The other stark difference is Romney gives the elderly the POWER of choice for themselves. obama gives that POWER of choice to 15 technocrats that are not elected, so therefore cannot be touched. In obamacare, it is written that they are TASKED with the goal of reducing Medicare spending. That means DENYING CARE.

    Sebilus and group have already stated they are REDUCING the number of perscriptions that folks on Medicare and receive to 4 per month!!!

    August 19, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. GeorgiaPeachie

    It's great to see someone saving Medicare for our elderly!!! obama only stole from the elderly and is now l*ing to them about it.

    August 19, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. America1st

    Looks like if Ryan tells his own mother what he's about to do to her medicare, we'd get a picture of her slapping him right across the jib. Romney gets yet another unfunded tax break.

    August 19, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  17. America1st

    I think he's saying, "the middle class should be proud to give up their medicare so the commie job creators can offshore even more jobs to China to buy a bigger yacht.

    August 19, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  18. America1st

    sO, LET'S GETTHIS STRAIGHT. We end Medicare so Romney can pay 1% taxes. And all of us can scratch the dirt trying to find affordable heathcare?!! No way – OBAMA 2012. The Ryan pick sealed the deal for me. Only the wealthy profit under Ryan, the rest of us eat swill.

    August 19, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. superlogi

    Listen much? The Romney plan takes nothing from Medicare. The Obama plan has already confiscated $716 billion of Medicare benefits to pay for Obamacare.

    August 19, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. Sandy

    Why doesn't Ryan go to Century Village in Se Fla and tellthem his plans. HIs mother lives "part-time" in the villages. So how can she live on her Social Security? The Villages has alot more people who are in better finiancial shape than the people in other parts of Florida. Come on down!

    August 19, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. once upon a horse

    if my son had a 6 figure salary which is now getting closer to a 7 figure one I would hope that I would not have to worry about Medicare either.....or having to live just on a fixed income.

    August 19, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  22. Bessy

    Wow ! You need to get out of Georgia and start to educate yourself. Fox News and Limbaugh are never going to help you get it right. Check your facts before you open your mouth and learn a little of the truth.

    August 19, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Jeff in Virginia

    It is so sad that Ryan has trotted out his own mother to pave over his Meidcare lies. A new low.

    August 19, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. NOT a Government Dependent

    If an American taxpayer pays $50,000 for $500,000 in benefits, are they "paying their fair share"???

    If an American taxpayer pays $50,000,000 for $500,000 in benefits, are they "paying their fair share"???

    August 19, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  25. Nick

    America's deficit is entirely the result of 'non-discretionary' spending, medicare, medicaid, ss, debt servicing and defence. If the GOP doesn't want to increase revenues, then these programs can't be maintained no matter how they 'spin it'.

    August 19, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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