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. American

    Oh, Mommy suporting lil' boy?
    Well , lets see what we get here:
    Willard Mitt Robmy paying less taxes as a millionare than his running mate ?
    GOP is obviously loosing because of this lousi pick this election?
    C'mon. GOP can do much better than this. Where are the guys that really showing a strategy for fuure twithut just cheating our people?
    We are felling like pulled by nose!!

    August 18, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. jl

    both sides are spending alot of time and money over the less than 10 percent of undecided voters, plus trying to get decided voters to turn out on election day.

    August 18, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Desmond, a Canadian

    These Republicans of yours are such manipulator of the facts and context. AND THEY WILL EVEN USE THEIR MOTHERS TO DO IT! They are banking on the stupidity and emotionalism of so much of the US electorate to hoodwink your nation again as they did with Bush, twice!!!

    August 18, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. J Roby

    You know Ryan's mom is a millionaire right. She can't get hurt either way. Only the "little people" get screwedout of being able to see a doctor. Medicare vouchers are MURDER

    August 18, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Sandy

    So they are going to try to lie their way to the white house. What has this County become?

    August 18, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    That's right, trot out the 80 year old beauty pagent queens to help deceive the elderly. Ryan's mother is set for life, over 55 and doing what any mother would do (myself included). The only problem is most of us don't have sons who work in Congress and are millionaires. Why doesn't he find someone in their early 50's to trot out and ask them how they feel about being so close to collecting the benefits they PAID INTO for over 30 years only to be given a voucher? I guarantee you, it's a lot harder to find mothers in that age bracket willing to be in that lineup.

    August 18, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. howlame

    Ryan is worth $4 million. Family has a company getting millions in government contracts. You really buy into this retiree story. These people are above the average American holding up a hand saying help me.

    August 18, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. JimB

    You can't make a volkswagon a Mercedes. Romney/Ryan are trying everything to cover up their radical right wing budget and Medicare proposals.

    August 18, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Dnick47

    His mom probably is sittingon a $5,000,000. nest egg and could care less which way Medicare goes. I know this from years of experience: the Republican Party NEER (!!!!!) does anything for the little guy. If perchance they drop a $0.50 crumb they counter it with a $5,000.00 crumb to the rich – their real and only constinguency – then when thing get bad they want $5.0- back from the little guy and leave therich man alone. That th GOP: today, yesterday and tomorrow.

    August 18, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. American

    Oh, Mommy suporting lil' boy?
    Well , lets see what we get here:
    Willard Mitt Robmy paying less taxes as a millionare than his running mate ?
    GOP is obviously loosing because of this lousy pick this election?
    C'mon. GOP can do much better than this. Where are the guys that really showing a strategy for future withut just cheating our people?
    We are felling like pulled by nose!!

    August 18, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. artraveler

    Whata liar! His budget takes the same money from Medicare but instead of making it work to make Americans better, gives it as tax cuits to his rich buddies, including the Kochs who apparently had something to do with him being on the ticket. You can tell a Repubklican is lying if their miouth is moving!

    August 18, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. doug

    Paul Ryan cares abut people, all Americans, no one is his enemy because of their politics or religion, the same cannot be said about Obama or Biden. Obama says that every American who is not a Democrat is his enemy and he wants to punish these Americans because of their politics. Google his univision interview in 2010, he says it.
    Biden says that Republicans want to "chain yall up" in his stereotypical southern black accent. If a Republican said that it would be the story of the year, no republican has said anything as racist and hateful but Biden is a Democrat.
    Its a moral obligation to vote Republican if you are a good person.

    August 18, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Wes

    This has to be the ultimate in dog and pony shows.

    August 18, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. carlos

    only in one week ayn ryand's nose has grown from his nauseatingly lies and along brings his mother...ICK and UGH

    August 18, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Bootstomper

    My mothers name was Betty and she died last year at the age of 86. She would never vote for a person like Mitt Romney and a narrow mined person like Paul Ryan she would ask to leave her house .

    August 18, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. packerfans

    Vote Mitt Rmoney and Paul Ryan!!! Obama get out White House!! Obama still act KIING and Above the LAW !! DON"T VOTE OBAMA!!! VOTE MITT/PAUL..

    August 18, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Dee

    Well she does not represent the average medicare recipient who can't afford a part time home in Florida they can barely make ends meet on their monthly checks and own a home.

    August 18, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Squigman

    Shame on the whole Ryan, family. The son, is hell bent on bankrupting the middle class and mom, becomes his shill. It's a matter of getting sonny boy the job of a lifetime, regardless of what occurs to the masses. Benedict Arnold, apparently has friends and family in the republican party ranks.

    August 18, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Observer

    Is anyine keeping him honest on his budget and vote to turn medicare into a voucher program? Or are the press simply leting him get away with his actual record. This is a man who voted to privatise Social Security. He cant have it both ways?

    August 18, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Crocodile tears yet again from the Republicans? I thought the Speaker of the House was working that side of the street... I sure that your mom is proud of you when you lie about the President of the United States. I was under the impression that she grew up in a time where such things such as dissing the President were frowned upon, whether you agreed with him or not... Did her business get any of the stimulus money you asked for, yet decried, and claimed didn't work? Class A hypocrite!

    August 18, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. drake mallard

    cuban medicare fraud and marco rubio is silent about

    South Florida is known as the capital of Medicare fraud,

    Feds in Miami: Millions stolen from Medicare wound up in Cuban banking system In an unprecedented case, federal prosecutors have charged a Miami man with engaging in a massive money laundering scheme that moved millions stolen from the federal Medicare program into Cuban banks.

    I want to protect Medicare. I want to save it," Rubio told CNN.
    "It's going bankrupt. And so the only way to save it is to come up
    with a solution that allows our parents and our grandparents to see
    absolutely no changes to their Medicare," Rubio added.

    what a joke

    August 18, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |

    Standing right next to his dear ol mom lying . She must be proud.

    August 18, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. 1twinsfan

    Ryan says not to let 15 unelected bureaucrats make decisions about seniors healthcare. The American public says not to let two Rs make those decisions, either.

    August 18, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. gt

    chicago thugs making ryan out to be the big bad wolf....bogus....lies...and stupid scare tactics...

    August 18, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Ray

    ""Under the Ryan budget plan, the program that helps the poor and the disabled, Medicaid, would lose 3/4 of its funding by 2050. Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, says Medicaid “pays for 40 percent of the country’s births and the majority of the nation’s long-term care [for the elderly]. It’s one of the most complex programs in the U.S. government — on the level of tax policy.”

    On Friday, Democratic staff in the House pushed back, warning Ryan’s plan would jeopardize healthcare for 60 million Americans, including 33 million children.

    “The Ryan budget shreds the Medicaid safety net,” stated a memo from Minority Staff on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

    “Medicaid is currently structured to provide more help when states need it most: when unemployment increases and citizens lose insurance coverage,” it continued.

    “The Medicaid block grant … shifts all risks including future recessions, healthcare cost increases, and disasters to states and beneficiaries. The federal government would no longer be a partner responding to such changes.”

    August 18, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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