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. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan......... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century

    August 18, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. caw083@comcast.net

    Still don't buy their plan. I WILL GO WITH THE DEMOCRATS ON THIS

    August 18, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Liz the First

    Paul Ryan is the poster boy for retroactive abortion! he is the face of all that's wrong with the morally bankrupt republican philosophy of 'i've got mine, the hell with you.' he puts money above people. and when he hasn't done that, he's lied about not doing it. what a hypocrite! Seniors need to vote in November to protect medicare and social security for their children and grandchildren, and against the repugs who are out to eliminate it altogether.

    August 18, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Anonymous


    The Dems will be running scared this time.

    If Romney wins, the whole country will be running on scared.

    August 18, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. fernace

    I, in my layperson opinion, think same thing is going on in both camps! Medicare as we know it will be done away w/1 way or the other! Usurped by ACA as branch of universal healthcare, or privatized, commercialized & capitalized! I know which choice is better for me & my family! I pick the 1 that doesn't favor Big Pharma, fatcats & politicians!! Obama-Forward 2012!

    August 18, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Znod

    Neither Romney nor Ryan is very bright. They both appear to believe the BS they spew (e.g., about medicare(. I can't wait for the Presidential debates. Among other things, maybe Romney will act like a school child again and bet money attempting to strengthen the case he is trying to make.

    August 18, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. ted

    yet another GOP political stunt by dragging Ryan's mom into the fray. Did you hear of the latest poll that says 100% of the people polled are for Obama and no one is for Romney? I asked my wife, my dog and myself who would we vote for in Novemberr and my wife and I said Obama and my Samoyed howled OOO. Close enough. See how polls can tell different stories, dependent upon bias? HAHAHA.

    August 18, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    Wow like I REALLY thought that Paul Ryan's mother would come out against him! Pretty shameless if you ask me. He would have done better using another senior citizen besides his own mom. GEESH!

    August 18, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. JJG

    All of the well-publicized political health care programs have one thing in common: They all seek to steer larger portions of Medicare and Medicaid through private insurance corporations. They differ only in their degrees of rationing, with President Obama's plan restricting rationing for profit and Reps. Wyden & Ryan and now Romney’s vouchers allowing the most rationing by the health insurance industry.
    What Republicans and Democrats fail to disclose is that for more than 40 years the middle man of American health care – the private insurance industry – has failed in almost every capitalistic, economic and medical measure to deliver for the American patient.
    Health insurance companies can only claim success in diverting hundreds of billions of dollars of public and private money from health care providers and patients to profits and payoffs for their bondholders, shareholders, executives and political patrons.
    Health insurance companies ensure neither quality affordable health care nor quality insurance for most Americans. With no real product to sell, the private health insurance industry would fail to exist without hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect payments to the elected officials in the Congress, state legislatures and the administration. In turn, private health insurance corporations are exempt from nearly all Federal Regulations.
    After 40 years of market and medical failure, America needs to cut out the middle man and move to single-payer national health insurance for all Americans with private doctors, hospitals, clinics, therapists and drug companies competing capitalistically based on the quality of medical, surgical and preventive outcomes.

    August 18, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. jinx88

    "Ryan family business, which goes back generations, has been built to a large extent on government contracts." So I guess withj Ryan wanting smaller government, those government contracts will go away right?

    August 18, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    President Obama's mother is no longer with us, BUT I would be willing to bet if he were to use her in an ad to promote ANYTHING he was trying to push the right wing would call foul and attack him for doing it. Rush Limbaugh and company would have a field day calling it shameful. SHAME on Ryan for doing what he did.

    August 18, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. Eddie Munster is a fake fiscal con

    Little Paulie hiding behind mommy's skirt. Too funny except, he's just like Willard who hides behind Ann's skirts. These two clowns are going down so hard in November. Can't wait until their political careers are trashed this fall. Love it!!

    August 18, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. OBAMA 2012

    Dear President Barrack Obama, you have the Latino votes hermano!

    August 18, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. WAL12

    we are are stupid to think that if Ryan gives voucher to other moms 55 years and below for commercial market and keep medicare for his mom that is called genius.
    He said he is keeping because they pay into it as if the 55 years and younger didn't pay into it as well.

    August 18, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. milopup09

    Ryan campaigns with a sign saying "Protect and Strengthen Medicare" on his speaking podium.

    Are THEY SERIOUS!!! It should say "Voucherize and Weaken Medicare"! What a joke!

    August 18, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Hey, I don't mind when you drag family members out for
    props, but this little pony show
    crossed the line of good taste.

    Paul Ryan needs to grow a pair.

    August 18, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. milopup09

    Liar Ryan campaigns with a sign on his speaker podium saying "Protect and Strengthen Medicare". Are they SERIOUS?!

    It should say "Voucherize and Weaken Medicare".

    August 18, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Jersey Girl

    @gmenfan54 – Ryan's mom will probably vote for Obama.

    Yes, shout it from the rooftops: Ryan's mama will vote for Obama! LOL.
    It will be interesting to see the next round of polls as far as the Vouchercare team is concerned, but you have to discount certain polls as they tend to be in the tank for either party.

    August 18, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Chris

    Come on. We all know Ryan's mother was going to convince old ladies that they are going to loose their medicare. What a baby. This is just as bad as if my mother comes to a job interview that I had scheduled to talk the employer into hiring me.

    August 18, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Lizzie

    You are calling Romney nd Ryan liars, even worse some call the republicans Taliban, but you can't name ONE thing they are lying about, it's not like the Presidents campaign who get caught in lies and then lies about that.

    August 18, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. radioactive

    My god...how bad is your campaign when you have to cart out your Mother to lie for you. I think this is the 4th TEApublican to use their Mother's in the campaign....desperate times call for desperate measures.

    August 18, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. bb

    Unemployment rates rose in 44 states in July, most in 3 years way to go Oblunder

    August 18, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. jrm03063

    Let's see – do I trust the opinion of an ideologue who wants to eliminate guaranteed coverage for our seniors – or the AARP who exists specifically on behalf of our seniors? Tragic that, for some people, this is actually NOT an obvious choice!

    August 18, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. rs

    Sure, if the majority of American were as well to do as Mr. Ryan (or his mom), letting Romney and Ryan gut Socal Security and Medicare might be alright for the majority. But, as we aren't that wealthy, and this only benefits the 1 %, these guys are simply out in the weeds.

    August 18, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Kansas Cowboy

    Hey, my Mom got medicare...all you folks under 45, not so much.

    August 18, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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