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. us_1776

    The GOP ticket:

    Romney / Ryan / Ryan's Mommy.


    August 19, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. John

    Romney/Ryan plan want to make Medicare a voucher system and privatize it. Seniors will be paying 6400 dollars more per year according to the Congressional budget office. The GOP have never believed in Medicare and from the day it was created back in the 1960's have been fighting to get rid of it. GOP are trying to fool the American people but it will not work.. The American people understand who has fought for Medicare since its creation. It has been the Dems and not the GOP.....

    August 19, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. SugarKube

    Keep Barry's old lady off the camera. He will drop 10 points if that goes on.

    August 19, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. tadesse

    one doesnt want show his tax the other just want to voucherize medicare, both want to give more money to the 2% at the expense of the middle class. (by ending all social program) America the choice is yours.

    August 19, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Cindy

    He didn't tell the people that insurance companies will not insure you after age 70 or any age if you have a pre-existing condition. He also forgot to tell them that insurance companies do not return calls to nursing homes, So now, middle America is suppose to die before/or at age 70??

    August 19, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |

    Will someone please answer this question for me. How did Rominy get over 100 million in an IRA account when you can only put in 6000$ a year. This was one of the things that was found out on the 1 and 1/2 year tax return that Mitt did release ,this is the reason why his wife stated categorically they would not be releasing any more returns so people could have more ammunition to use against them.

    August 19, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. GI Joe

    Yes you did – you built that building, the road that get folks to that building, you pump and sterilize your own water, you invented your own heavy equipment/mail system for billing, you educated the people that work for you (and yourself) with no help from others – no teachers, no police, no firemen – on and on and on. You didn't get any help at all. YOU DID IT ALL BY YOURSELF.
    \\ sarcasm off now

    August 19, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Martha in CF

    What a joke this is.....Ryan has to call on his mommy to help him explain his medicare views.....nothing but sick

    August 19, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Fed up

    How can anyone defend obammas record, if ou do you're voting for gay rights and abortion only......his policies are a failure. HE is a failure. Most of the liberals on here posting are childless young angry activist type who have never had to support a family. CRYBABIES.....liberalism is a disease, and the country is tired of it, AGAIN.

    August 19, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. kathy

    They just want the old, and the poor to die off... They could care less.... This won't effect them. They have health care, and will have it for the rest of their lives. The real kicker is that we are paying for their health care.

    August 19, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. opinion8it

    What a shame.... he's even got his own mother convinced of his B S... there is nothing repubs will not stoop to.

    August 19, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Donald in CA

    Talk about hiding behind your mama's apron. What a wimp. Just what we need, a president and vice president who are both wimps. Wail until they go up against Putin and some of these other half mad world leaders who already have nuclear weapons.

    August 19, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. JJ

    Ryan wants to bring his family into the political mudbath? Well, OK.....

    August 19, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Guest Star

    One day I saw the kid next door looking really upset and I asked him what was wrong. He said, "I worked for over two weeks at the neighbors house while they were at the shore on vacation, cutting the grass, watering, taking care of their three dogs and all she gave me were these crappy 'Fifty Percent Off Coupons' at Burger King" It occurred to me that is probably what Seniors will also think of the Ryan/Romney Medicare Voucher scheme should these two greedy Republicans ever get to implement it.

    August 19, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Maria

    Yeah,Ryan cares about seniors just ask the 71 year old at his luncheon in Wisconsin.This video on youtube has gone viral.The man asked Ryan how he would be able to afford his meds,got thrown to the ground,arrested and afterward Ryan actually joked about it saying,"I hope he took his blood pressure medicine". Wow,how heartless.

    August 19, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. GI Joe

    Keep Barry's old lady off the camera. He will drop 10 points if that goes on.
    You've been out of this world for about 5-1/2 years. His mom died of cancer (at a very young age) and his white grand-parents raised him -- wait for this on -- in Hawaii.

    August 19, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. hypatia

    he's a liar and she taught him how

    August 19, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. fred

    Is he saying that his mom was the one who built the roads and bridges?

    August 19, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. GI Joe

    Yeah,Ryan cares about seniors just ask the 71 year old at his luncheon in Wisconsin.This video on youtube has gone viral.The man asked Ryan how he would be able to afford his meds,got thrown to the ground,arrested and afterward Ryan actually joked about it saying,"I hope he took his blood pressure medicine". Wow,how heartless.
    You got that right - His goons also put him in handcuffs. Boy, he must be afraid the old man was going to really hurt someone. I haven't ever trusted Robme, and now I despise Eddie Munster's look-alike.

    August 19, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Transcending

    Maria I guess u forgot to also put in that vide how that elder man was irate and disrupted service? Typical liberal media for ya.
    Dems all time low, showing an ad of an elderly woman being pushed off a cliff in a wheelchair. Is there anything u will not stoop to? Talk about heartless.

    August 19, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Bill Young

    Here come the liberally slanted headlines just before the election. CNN tried to go balanced after their CEO's firing but now that Romney/Ryan looks strong they just can't seem to hide their almost equal to MSNBC bias.

    August 19, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Jason

    "non-partisan AARP" that's funny

    August 19, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. SafeJourney

    Maria, That video of the 71 year old man shows exactly how Ryan feels about seniors. Maybe Ryan should show that video to his mom

    August 19, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. GI Joe

    Maria I guess u forgot to also put in that vide how that elder man was irate and disrupted service? Typical liberal media for ya.
    You mean like the tea-baggers did in 2010? And THEY were shipped in via Koch luxury buses. VERIFIED OVER AND OVER.

    It was one old man, not a whole gaggle of baggers.

    August 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Thomas

    @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?

    Said but true, yet those that support Romney /Ryan don't care.

    You can't save your as and your face at the samr time 2012

    August 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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