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. TheAverageAmerican

    When we have a job, GOP threatens to take it away by making it easy for corporations to outsource it overseas.

    When we become unemployed, GOP threatens our livelihood by seeking to take away our unemployment benefits.

    When our banks and Wall Street firms play wild games with money and
    threaten global financial health, GOP says it is a good thing that the
    free capitalist markets are at work even though millions lose their

    When our kids get into the best private colleges after working their
    buts off, GOP threatens to make it impossible for them to actually
    enroll and finish colleges by taking away loans and financial

    When our kids manage to finish and get their degrees with huge debts
    to repay, the jobs they apply for disappear and go overseas, thanks to
    people like Romney and his Bain Capital.

    When GOP really gets their way with medicare and medicaid, our parents will
    no longer be able to support themselves financially and suffer mightily in their older age...

    And while we go and file for bankruptcy, our super rich counterparts
    are becoming super super rich, sipping champaign at one of their many
    super luxurious vacation homes, laughing and congratulating themselves
    on their fortunes, singing "The rich get richer and the poor get

    August 18, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. joyce

    She has a home in Wisconsin and one in Florida. She must not need Medicare as bad as some of us do. She probably don't care if she gets a vocher. If it isn't enough she can use her own money.

    August 18, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. MaryM

    How sweet, Ryans mom does not have to worry about her future. For Seniors over 55, nothing will change. But what about those Seniors children and Grandchildren. I am sure those senior care about them. Ryans medicare Vouchers will not even start to cover the rising health care costs. AND Ryans plan give tax Cuts to the Rich like Mitt. Which Mitt just said yesterday that he supports

    August 18, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Name dff


    August 18, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Gino

    There's an old western saying, "In all this horsesh-t, there's gotta be a pony".

    No one has seen one yet.

    August 18, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Gino

    thete's an old western saying, "In all this horse-t, there's gotta be a pony".

    No one has seen one yet.

    August 18, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. ?

    this kind of has that guy with the truck feel to it.

    can he bend kryptonite with his bare hands too (another article says he catches fish with his bare hands).

    August 18, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. SafeJourney

    Wow, now Ryan has his mom repeating the edited speech from President Obama "you did not build that" Ryan why dont you quote President Obama entire speech instead of editing it like the Breitbart that you are. Shame on you for having your Mom lie for you like that

    August 18, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Our president is trying to save our Medical for the people who don't have mpney to pay for care. Ryan is the one who wants to dump the plan we've used for years and give the elderly a voucher to go out and find their own care....DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE?????????He comes from a weallthy family and his mother would be well taken care of when help was needed, that's fine we all love our mothers and want the best for them but some of us don/t have bank accounts to fall back on. If our medical turns to Walkers voucher system.....a very large number of older people will be without medical with dire results. These are the facts!!!!!

    August 18, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Gino

    There's an old westernsaying, "In all this horse--, there's gotta be a pony".

    No one has seen that pony yet.

    August 18, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. standright

    Ryan brought his Mom – that's actually very smart. Shows they actually might understand the common man.

    Obama should bring all of his Medicare age family members out of the woodwork, and tell the crowd that he has taken action to be able to support his family members for up to 8 more years with his recent actions. Then what happens to his relatives?

    August 18, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. Tom

    Paul Ryan can tell his sweet, old momma that I'm voting for Barack Obama!

    August 18, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Jake

    Shameful that this man drags his mother out to sell his program. If you can't sell your program on your own, you don't even deserve to be a dog catcher. Shame on you. Putting your mother out there and using her.

    August 18, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    the Obama campaign should do two TV adverts one was when the donoght hole was in existence and one after it was eliminated by Obama. ask the 65er whether they want to return to the donought hole era. this guy is giving tax cuts to ealthy people instead of using it to benefit the system. we now know that christianity is not their inspiration but the writing of an atheiist. if it were christ it is the duty of the rich to help the poor by giving up some of their rights

    August 18, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. Norma Vessels

    Noting that Paul Ryan's father is deceased, as is his grandmother and father .. and Paul Ryan's mother is old enough to have Medicare without worrying about vouchers, Paul Ryan decides to make the people UNDER the age of 55 go to vouchers when they retire. That means his mom is safe and won't ever have to do that .. but, the ones under the age of 55 aren't safe. When all of you who are going to be on Medicare and you're 55 or younger, then you may want to start hunting for an insurance company that will honor the vouchers that will be passed to you .. now. Might as well get a head start.

    August 18, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Jeettu

    So once again Ryan is misrepresenting the facts about his medicare, medicaid, and social security proposals amd his proposed budget. Now, he is even using his Mom to fool the American public. May be he believes in all this propaganda and does not understand his own proposals. What portion of the increased burden on the retirees in his plan is unclear to hima and others. He says he will give the vouchers to people to pay for their medicare insurance. The cost will lot kore than the vouchers. The difference, which averages out to $6,400 per person (estimated by independent CBO) has to be paid by the retirees themselves. For those 55 and under, the situation becomes worse. As we go onto the future, there wil be no medicare.

    Now think of the medicaid. As a result of the reductions in payments to States, there will be another 10+ ,million people added to the already 40+ uisured people needed healthcare. That will increase healthcare costs and also out-of-pocket costs of retirees and others. Who will pay for all these?

    Privaticing social security and decreasing social security benefits will only cause problems in the future. If Ryan thinks investing in private funds is such a good idea, then why does not the government invest in it and make the social security fund solvent. Either he knows this cannot be done or he is lying about his proosals.

    If all the above fact are explained to Ryan's Mom, I am sure she will not like these odds either particularly if she has to pay the addiitonal $6,400 out of her retirement benefits. Oh, I forgor, she got her rich son and friends to pay for them and so she would not kno these things.

    Considering all these, I am sure everyone will agree with Ryan's faulty analysis and conclusions and vote for democratic tickets duirng the November elections, We just can't trust and can't afford to have Romney and Ryan in the White House. In fact, we should vote out all the republicans from the House and the Senate as far as possible duirng the November elections.

    August 18, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. OrlandoGuy

    No matter how the Romney campaign tries to dress this up...their plans for Medicare and Medicaid will be disaster for future generations. They are seeking to fundamentally change these programs...not to save them but to eventually get them to fail. And to cover for their radical plans they are falsely charging Obama with cutting Medicare when the reality if Obamacare helps save money in Medicare on the provider side while expanding benefits for seniors (closing the donut hole, free preventative care, etc.).

    America please don't be fooled. This is the culmination of the GOP long goal of dismantling the New Deal and Great Society programs that Americana have come to love and depend on for security in their later years. No matter how pretty the package, the Romney/Ryan plans are toxic.

    August 18, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. jony

    Where's Biden? Word on the street is he has been sent home for the weekend to prevent any more gaffs

    August 18, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Norma Vessels

    Or .. you can vote for President Obama. He will protect your Medicare, and will not push on you, what he is totally against .. vouchers! As for the $716 billion dollars taken from Medicare ... that was an estimate released .. IF the Health Care law had been taken down by the Supreme Court ... which they didn't, of course. The money is still there, because the Health Care is still here.

    August 18, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Leroy

    Paul Ryan's mother is financially well-off. She doesn't have to worry about Medicare or Social Security. Show me someone who has only Social Security and Medicare and see if they sing the praises of a Romney/Ryan Medicare reform plan.

    August 18, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. DW

    Uh...didn't he say some months ago that he wanted to get rid of "Medicare" and have vouchers? Who is this guy?

    August 18, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. lives7

    Medicare: Obama lies, and Seniors die.
    Romney/Ryan 2012...Restore Medicare, Save Medicare.

    August 18, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Marissa

    In 1980, Americans put the good of the country above partisan politics by voting Carter out in a landslide victory, even in predominantly Democratic states like California. In 2010, Americans joined hands together again to break up Obama’s rubber-stamp Congress after the Democratic majority position was misused to shove Obamacare down their throats with zero bipartisan support and amid skepticism and reluctance from general
    public. Our choice this November is whether we blindly stick to party loyalty or stand united again to save the country from Obama.

    Carter was an inept President but he was basically a moral man. Obama on the other hand is a more destructive President with his pork-barrel politics, divisive tactics, absolute ideas, welfare promotion, pandering to the illegals and his self-serving agenda added to his incompetence. Obama has done more damage to the country and its people in three
    short years than during Carter’s four.

    Think. America has been suffering from bad leadership for almost 12 years because of partisan politics. Do we want to extend our misery four more years? Please spread this message via email, Facebook and other social media outlets to every American you know regardless of their party affiliation. It’s time we said “enough is enough!”

    August 18, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. wade

    U.S. Unadjusted Unemployment 8.3% in Mid-August
    August 17, 2012
    U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 8.3% in mid-August, compared with 8.2% at the end of July. Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is also 8.3%, up from 8.0% at the end of July.
    Democrats robbing Medicare, 16 trillion Nat. Debt total failed presidency. How exactly is it that Obama still has supporters?

    August 18, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. CT voter

    I wonder if Ryan's mother got any student loans for herself, or did her children? Did any of them attend a college that was supported with federal or state funds? Did any of them ever drive on state-funded roads? I respect and appreciate the experiences of the Ryan family, but let's get real. Many of us will be lucky to retire at all – after a lifetime of honest work, paying our own way, supporting our family, community and country. We will not be in the position to cough up an additional $6400/yr for medical costs caused by the shortfall in Ryan's Medicare voucher system.

    Romney is secretive, Ryan is dangerous. As bad as things are now, their election would make things much, much worse.

    August 18, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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