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. 1+1=2

    Here goes the Ryan scare tactics. We're having problems with medicare, scrap it, don't find a fix.

    August 18, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. bb

    Unemployment rates rose in 44 states in July, most in 3 years. I am sure Oblunder is right after all he said he wouldnt run agin if unemploy was over 6% just he didnt take 700 plus mil from medicare. DO NOT TRUST OBLUNDER HE IS BEEN CAUGHT LYING OVER AND OVER

    August 18, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Donkey Party

    What a pandering liar. The GOP are the lowest forms of life, sub-humans at best. What's not to hate about them?

    August 18, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. gwats

    He proposes to end medicare as we know it, then runs for political cover behind his mother's apron strings. Yep, just the kind of guy who should be the backup President.

    August 18, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. rs

    Average American- Excellent post. If Mr. Romney wanted to understand the plight of people not as rich as he is, he should read it!

    August 18, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Dustie

    Most people in politics (regardless of their party and political affiliation) will tell you that Paul Ryan is super smart with unimpeachable integrity. He is entirely trustworthy and honest. I believe him on Medicare, where I have learned not to trust Obama (who I voted for). Romney/Ryan have my vote.

    August 18, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Mike

    "we think the best way to save Medicare is to empower 50 million seniors" says Ryan. Actually, his plan hands all the power to a few major health insurers, who will make it impossibly expensive for seniors to continue their health insurance when they need it the most. Medicare has issues, and Obama's cuts deal a lot with cost savings and efficiency (I thought Republican's like that). The fact that it operates at 2% overhead while private insurers operate near 20% overhead indicates that the government is a lot better at handling health insurance than the private market.

    August 18, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. Namemonzell

    How can his mother get up there and let her son lie, that so scary what people will do for the love of money and then turn your back on someone who had a bad break. What is USA becoming

    August 18, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. wade

    In an unprecedented blow to seniors who rely on Medicare, President Obama took $716 billion away from the program and spent it on his federal takeover of the health care system. This is not in dispute. You can watch President Obama acknowledge it in this interview with ABC News. You can watch the President's deputy campaign manager call it an achievement in this interview with CBS News. Or you can read about it in the latest Congressional Budget Office score of a proposed Obamacare repeal.

    And yet, the President continues to put forward head-scratching claims like "FACT: President Obama's health care law strengthens Medicare benefits while cutting waste and insurance company subsidies." Let's unpack this a bit.

    What exactly did the President cut, and what will the effects be?

    The Largest Source Of Cuts Is A $415B Reduction In Provider Payments. This means that Medicare will reduce the amount that it pays to doctors and hospitals for the services they provide to seniors. In an imaginary world where government simply controls everything and everyone, this might sound like an effective way to control cost. In the real world, the result will be fewer providers accepting Medicare payments, and worse care for today's seniors.

    August 18, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Jose

    Boy what hatred. Boohoo Ryan's mom did a great job raising great kids and one of them actually wants to fix things and help our country out of this disaster Obama has left. Obama and Biden are an embarrassment to the world.

    August 18, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. DB

    All you uneducated who are postng without knowledge, just like Pelosi say "Let pass the bill then find out whats in it" so we are finindng whats in opbamacare. Read the bill before you comment and you know mainstream media will not do their job becasue they are drinking Obama kool aide.

    August 18, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. middlemolly

    The RR attacks on Medicare are nothing more than bold-faced lies. Here's a way of looking at it that older people will understand: Let's say you want to cut your food bill by 10%... You don't want to deprive yourself, but you want to spend less on groceries so that you can do something else with that money. How might you do that and still buy as much food as you do now? 1. Watch for waste. Don't buy stuff you don't eat or buy smaller sizes of things you throw away because they go bad. 2. Clip coupons. 3. Watch for sales. 4. Carefully compare prices and buy generics whenever possible. 5. If possible, go to a different grocery store. 6. If possible, grow some of your own food.

    Unless you're already religiously doing all of these things, there is no reason that you can't do some of these things and save yourself a nice chunk of change each month... and still eat well with all of the nutrients you need. Most seniors are very careful with their food budgets.

    And that is the same thing that the Dems are doing with that $700 billion in Medicare SAVINGS in ObamaCares. They aren't "cuts" inferring a loss of benefits or a lower quality of care; they are SAVINGS, accomplished by addressing issues of waste and fraud, accomplished by paying less for services, accomplished by allocating less for Medicare programs that don't work as well and cost more.

    Medicare SAVINGS... something we all are familiar with that helps our dollars go farther... while preserving the Medicare plan that we know, love, and depend on.

    August 18, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Jersey Girl

    You can believe that Florida seniors were listening to Ryan intently, even if CNN downplays the coverage. It was a great speech. I think it's safe to say that Obama just lost Florida.

    Yes, because we all know The Villages is all of Florida. NOT!
    I always think back to Mitt Romney not going into the military because he is Mormon and so after HS had to be a missionary for a certain number of years (he chose France!) BUT THEN WHY did he have to have signs during his college years supporting the war and object to the the people who were protesting the Viet Nam War?
    HUMMM? Hypocrite much, 'ol Willard?

    August 18, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Como

    Obama Biden are great comedy. Barak has Joe shackled after last weekend. LIstened to Obama's speech today, not much content lots of empty rhetoric.

    August 18, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Bob

    Ryan seems like a very nice person and truly respects his mother. Ryan's mother must be very proud of him and Ryan seems to be very proud of her.

    August 18, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Lizzie

    To those who are now complaining for getting his mom into the race, think back every time Senator Obama wanted to paint himself half white he brought his Grandmother into the debate, but then threw her under the bus, going to Hawaii when she was on her deathbed, only to make sure she would not say anything that could hurt him, he did not even show up to her funeral and that was the women who raised him and paid for his private school education.

    August 18, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. glorydays

    What's his plan for folks who won't pay for his high priced privatization?

    August 18, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. jimboy

    Are you all aware of where Ryan's mother resides part-time? The Villages, developed by Arnold Palmer, where just Social Security & Medicare along will not get you to the gate. You must have huge assets plus huge other retirement income to reside on the inside. CHECK IT OUT!

    August 18, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. David

    Repubs are offering a coupon program for Medicare, that would be a joke if the ramifications weren't so scary. For those that really need the help their premiums will be jacked to a level where the coupon will have no benefit whatsoever, if you are not wealthy you will be left to die, and if you do have some wealth it will be diverted to the megacorps rather than pass to your family.

    August 18, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. mike

    She lives in a $1,000,000 condo in Florida she doesnt have to worry about Medicare..give me a break Ryan!

    August 18, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. us_1776

    The GOP ticket:

    Romney / Ryan / Ryan's Mom

    LOL !!


    August 18, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Ricksta

    Mitt the Twit and Lyin' Ryan - more like a "dicket" than a ticket.

    August 18, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. Ben

    I find it extremely disgraceful to bring in one's mother to try and add legitimacy to this assault of lies against Obama and lies about what the Ryan-Romney ticket entails. It shows that they do not respect the intelligence of Americans to see beyond their blatant lies. They know its shameful to say what they they really stand for. This is just pure evil at work against Americans.

    August 18, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. Howard

    Ryan and Romney have sooooo much more credibility than the liar and thief !!!

    August 18, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. Cayman Islands

    Never forget that when romney and ryan and the republicons talk about "welfare addicts" and "a culture of dependancy" they are talking about senior citizens. You leeches over 65 who dare to come hat in hand expecting that in this nation we would have the level of civilzation to care for you in your dottage. Provide you with basic food, shelter and medical care. How dare you, you commie socialist welfare scrounges! Don;t you know how many millionaires need another dresage horse? Or haow many have to fly first class instead of chartering their own private jet? How many have to take the elevator in the house rather than having the car come to their floor on it's own elevator? And you expect medicine and food??? How dare you!

    August 18, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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