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. Jerry

    OBAMA 2012
    Dear President Barrack Obama, you have the Latino votes hermano!
    NO HE DOES NOT!!! You are a liar, just like the Obamboozzler. I guess HE taught you well.

    August 19, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Jack V

    What I don't understand is why someone like Ryan rails against the evils of government, but has only worked as a politician.That shows a complete lack of character. And for seniors character matters.

    August 19, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. putusabackontop

    Paul Ryan is the first Washington politician to have the courage to state the facts on medicare. Without changes it will be broke in 12 years. People that ignore that are foolish. Great job Mr. Ryan.

    August 19, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. PJ

    Ryan has to stop messing with our Medicare. Too many seniors will suffer under the Voucher system. He should focus on making his boss release those tax returns.

    August 19, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Gina

    I'm 52 and based on Ryan's plan I will not be able ot obtain medicare as it now is – even though I have been paying for it for 30 years. Can I get my money back? OH NO – it;'s going to pay for the tax breaks for the rich. Talk about being screwed. I am totally perplexed how the some parts of the country will vote for Romney/Ryan – It is evident by the article that his mother has a home in Florida and Wisconsin – she evidently has no concern for healthcare. You vote for these two – you get what you deserve!

    August 19, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. Peri Browner

    Put the old lady on an ice flow. That's what her son Paul wants to do the rest of us seniors. Let him do it to his own Mom first.

    August 19, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. NOT a Government Dependent

    So what do people expect will happen as a result of these massive $716 BILLION cuts? Do you expect the insurance companies to go bankrupt or get out of the health insurance industry? Yes, that is exactly what the leftists Democrats want, government run healthcare.

    What WILL happen is that once the insurance companies indicate they will need to drop people or refuse coverage of certain procedures in order to remain a viable business, the politicians will do the very same thing they do with the "Doc Fix". They will give them the money. This is the same mythical savings farce but with insurance companies and hospitals.

    The Democrats have used every deceitful trick in the book to force Obamacare on the American people. The truth of the size and scope of the disaster becomes more and more evident with each passing day.

    August 19, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. mcskadittle

    but the retiring baby boomer, the largest generation of retirees will get screwed with the vouchers

    August 19, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Donkey Party

    superlogi – Use your pea-sized brain much? The Romney / Ryan plan not only robs Medicare of 716 billion to give the wealthy deeper tax cuts, it ends Medicare as we know it. It's amazing how insanely ignorant and just plain stupid you right-wingers are.

    August 19, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The last time Paul Ryan put his fiscally conservative budget into play, the GOP controlled both the House and Senate and the Executive branch and the end result was record unemployment, high inflation, a housing crisis, a broken banking system and the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression. Hey Paul Ryan, you're not the solution. You're the PROBLEM. You had your chance and you blew it. Please go away.

    August 19, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. NOT a Government Dependent

    If people want Medicare to stay the same then call your Senators and House Reps and DEMAND that they raise the Medicare tax rates to 5% to pay for it. NO MORE FREE RIDES! You want big government healthcare THEN PAY FOR IT!!

    August 19, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. Dave Harris

    In Florida, this is known as "the nursing home tour", and you do it with your mom. Our governor, who holds the record for Medicare fraud, did this and got elected. The irony is that about half of these people are being funded by Medicaid, not Medicare (Medicare doesn't pay for nursing homes), and Republicans have vowed to destroy Medicaid even more thoroughly than Medicare. But the old people will believe whatever you tell them, especially if you bring your mom.

    August 19, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney/Ryan Medicare voucher plan is conservative social engineering with no heart or soul. It will burden seniors with the burden of paying the cost of rising premiums. It will leave millions without health care. The sad thing is that this comes with their plans to reward the rich with more tax cuts.

    August 19, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Anonymous

    "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!"

    Mr. Ryan inherited a lucrative road building company which gained it's wealth through federally subsidized infrastructure grants. One assumes Ms Ryan used that wealth to live on after her husband died. This is not an "up-by-the-bootstraps" family, but rather, a family who had a great deal of help from the government to achieve the success they achieved. Unfortunately, having achieved it, they now want to take their own opportunity windfalls away from others.

    Which is exactly why Paul Ryan is such a heartfelt follower of Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand. She, too, raged against government all the while living off government. You see, in Romneyland, government isn't for all the people ... just some of the people.

    August 19, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Jill-IN

    Shame on Ryan; took one week to haul out his mom to lie to old people about medicare and social security.

    August 19, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. Marie MD

    The flip flop is trying to make his boy toy vp nominee (he is NOT handsome unless you like the eddie munster type) lie also. Then again he has been a politician in DC for years.
    How can a non working woman received Medicare and have her and her son complain about it? Can somebody explain that to me?
    "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.”
    And the government IS keeping that promise you altar boy you.

    August 19, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Joyce

    The liar has no shame, the stimulus he berated in one breath was adored and fancied in another. Who could trust this suporter of all Bush's plans , two wars and a prescription bill unpaid for. Ryans plan that Newt called social engineering and Romney called marvelous is designed to push Grandma off the edge, it will kill Medicare., Medicaid , Social security and Pell Grants. I will not be fooled, Obama cut waste so insurance companies and drug manufacturers benefits are reduced, put it into the Affordable care act, the same Romney care or Obama care for the benefit of seniors. The same $716B the Romney/Ryan are lying about. The Liars must not be allowed to get to the WH. The GOP's ruined this nation already they will do it again, Romney/Ryan will be looking for the next war, will be reunited with Bush's old policies that got us in this mess.

    August 19, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. betty

    A true Christian would NEVER do this to the country. I don't care how great he is. He is not qualified to govern our country. I have always voted Republican but not this year. I will stay home before I vote for a non-Christian. What were the Republicans thinking?? And now he has chosen this non-Christian as a running mate. Is this a joke? Two rich, snobby, know-it-all anti-Christians? What country is this? Iran? Who has bought and paid for this duo destined for Hell?Fellow Republicans, stop this insanity before it is too late! Let Obama have his way and we can clean up after him later with QUALIFIED people, not these awful people. They will be the ruination of us all. At least Obama is a Christian. Yes, he is.

    August 19, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Bob

    Just another mean spirited Republican who hates anyone who isn't rich. May you experience financial ruin Ryan !!

    August 19, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. John

    I just thought of what the initials of both GOP candidates commonly represented. R & R (rest & recreation). Now...now don't get all riled up. I'm sure both of them are nice patriotic Americans, good family men with good moral character but I'm just not voting for them. The Koch brothers paid for Ryan's nomination back in July. Correction........promised to contribute $ 100,000.00 into an independent fund for Romney's campaign. I always do some extensive research before posting comments here and anywhere else in the web. Try it...it is a very good exercise for the brain.

    August 19, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Dave Harris

    In Florida, this is known as "the nursing home tour"

    Will Romeny go beyond The Villages ... google it - it's quite the nursing home - and address the issues of those not quite on par financially with the residents of this particular nursing home? Oh, that's right. Romney isn't worried about the poor, they have their safety nets. Too bad Ryan wants to get rid of those safety nets. His strong Catholic belief system and upbringing kicking in I guess.

    August 19, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. beevee

    Romney hides behind his wife's skirt to convince voters that he has better ideas than president Obama. And now this guy hiding behind his Mom's pants to convince voters about his Mediciare paln is better than the president's. What a pity.

    August 19, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. amlcpamaine


    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 |
    This is entirely false – so what are you, a complete idiot or a paid Romney shill?
    Congress has controlled almost all federal spending for our entire history. The nondiscretionary has been subject to Congress' alterations dozens of times over the years to revise, but still this pales in comparison to defense spending (ENTIRELY discretionary, you dolt!). Put a lit on star wars and defense lobbyists before you go after the poor and needy (oh, sorry, Romney doesn't pay them like he pays you).

    August 19, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |

    I don't know why people will know someone is as crooked as a snake and will still vote for them, I think POTUS is the most caring man that has been in the white house. Will someone please look at Romney in the eyes you can tell just by looking a t him that it is something not right by the way he looks.Don't let hate against a race of people determined your vote. Vote for the one that cares about people, I think Romney only cares about his own bottom line. If Romney and Ryan end up in the WH the USA is in deep doo.

    August 19, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. GI Joe

    Did you catch his speech on foreign policy the other day? He said "I voted for the Iraq War" because it was the right thing to do.

    Oh well.

    Also, in 2002 he gave a long speech in the well of the House that more stimulus needed to be spent because that was the only way to get the economy going again. What does he preach now?

    August 19, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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