Space, death panels and PowerPoint with Paul Ryan
September 22nd, 2012
11:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Space, death panels and PowerPoint with Paul Ryan

Orlando, Florida (CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee who professes to be more about policy than politics, revealed his inner wonk Saturday at an Orlando town hall meeting that included a PowerPoint presentation about the nation's debt crisis.

At a time when Democrats have criticized Mitt Romney's presidential campaign for not delivering enough specifics about their policy proposals, Ryan commanded a packed gymnasium of 2,000 people and fielded questions that ranged from foreign policy to health care.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

This was the Wisconsin lawmaker's third town hall forum since the GOP presidential nominee selected him to join him on the party's ticket. Ryan told the audience he wanted to have a "two-way conversation," like the 500 or so listening sessions he has held in his district since he first got elected 14 years ago to serve the Badger State in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But before the question and answer portion of Saturday's event, Ryan used two large projector screens to illustrate the federal government's ever-increasing debt.

"I'm kind of a PowerPoint guy, so I hope you'll bear with me," he said.

Ryan used a graph to show that by 2040, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the United States will owe nearly 250% of the gross domestic product or the entire American economy. The current percentage is still lower today than it was during World War II, but the audience gasped when they saw the percentage spike from 2012 to 2040.

"The reason we just end this chart there is because the Congressional Budget Office tells us the economy effectively crashes at that point," he said. "This is the most predictable crisis we have ever had in this country.

"And more to the point, we know why it's happening, we know when it's happening, and we have a president who has literally not only done nothing... but made it worse. We need a new president. We need a president who will take on this challenge, who will lead and do something about this."

Ryan also said the debt problem was a national security concern.

Foreigners or foreign government owned 6% of the U.S. debt in 1970, he said, compared to 19% by 1990. And as of this past July, the lawmaker added, 48% of the debt is owned by foreign governments – with China top among them.

"We are now relying on other governments to basically cash-flow our government," Ryan said. "And when you rely on other countries to lend you their money to run your country, you lose your sovereignty. You lose control. You lose your independence. We have to get this under control, because this is harming our nation's sovereignty."

Romney's youngest son, Craig, appeared at the town hall held at the University of Central Florida. Craig Romney said that when he first met Ryan, he was impressed the Wisconsin legislator had a "grasp of the issues" and by his ability to simply and effectively talk about complicated topics.

The vice presidential hopeful was asked to address "the death panels we're going to have" as a result of Obamacare, which was a term used in 2009 by former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to describe the Independent Payment Advisory Board that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act to find savings in Medicare.

The "death panel" moniker was debunked years ago, and Ryan tried to distance himself from Palin's description of the same group he continues to ridicule when he is on the stump.

"Well, that's not the word I'd choose to use to describe it," Ryan explained, before going onto explain why the board takes away choices for seniors.

"And so what Obamacare does is it says, 'No we're going to have price controls, and we're going to empower this board of 15 people that the president appoints – six-year terms, they can get renewed once - and the law says none of them have to have any medical training. And these 15 bureaucrats that President Obama appoints, their job each and every year is to cut Medicare payments to providers."

Ryan expressed concern that politicians won't be held accountable with the board in place.

"This politician's going to say, let me get this straight, the law requires that I've got to cut Medicare to providers, denying access to my constituents, but if I don't do that, and do nothing, this board of bureaucrats will do it and I never have to vote on it and it just happens automatically? Let the bureaucrats do it," Ryan said.

While campaigning near Florida's space coast, Ryan added additional elements to his stump speech: describing the U.S. space program as "a strategic national asset to America." But Obama, he said, has weakened the program.

"We have presided over a dismantling of the space program over the last four years," he said of Obama's administration. "He has put the space program on a path where we are conceding our global position as the unequivocal leader in space.

"Today, if we want to send an astronaut to the space station, we have to pay the Russians to take him there. China may one day looking down on us from the moon," he continued, eliciting boos from the audience.

Earlier on Saturday, the Romney-Ryan campaign announced an outline of four space-related priorities they would pursue if elected.

The GOP ticket says it would refocus NASA, providing it with "practical and sustainable missions" rather than increasing funding. The agency said it spent over $18.4 billion dollars in fiscal year 2011, though its 2013 funding request was slightly lower - about $17.8 billion.

A key focus of the program would be contributing to national security efforts.

"Space-based information capabilities are the central nervous system of the U.S. national security community," the document released by the campaign read. "If America is to remain strong as a nation, the national security space programs must remain strong and sustainable."

If elected, Romney vowed to include the space program in international efforts and "ease trade limitations, as appropriate, on foreign sales of U.S. space goods."

In his Saturday remarks, Ryan touted the space program's benefits to the broader economy.

"The space program strengthens the entrepreneurial spirit and commercial competitiveness," he said. "They launch new industries and new technologies."

Also see:

- Rubio tweets his airline woes

- Ryan 'very comfortable' as Romney's V.P. candidate

- Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses

- Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me

- Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he 'does not understand' middle class

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • NASA • Paul Ryan
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. SafeJourney

    There is a good reason why Ryan is called Lyin Ryan now. Can anyone guess why that is?

    September 23, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. Phil Thomas

    Power point, nice I hope the fact checks got a copy of that deck. Can't wait to see how many lies they catch him in

    September 23, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  3. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Considering the distortions of Ryans speeches out in the general public...I hope his audience at this town hall meeting was wise enough to be a little sceptic as to what he was saying. This man is not above coloring up his conversation to make it fit our problem and yet to suit his own plans . It. is also important to remember that he is running for VICE PRESIDENT which comes under a different set of ruled than that of PRESIDENT. He does not and cannot speak at will for the president. {although..he will try to do just that}..!!.

    September 23, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. Thomas

    I'm kind of a PowerPoint guy, so I hope you'll bear with me," he said.

    Ryan also said the debt problem was a national security concern.
    OK , Where was your power point during the GW Bush years , two barrowed wars and wasteful spending ?

    And so what Obamacare does is it says, 'No we're going to have price controls And these 15 bureaucrats that President Obama appoints, their job each and every year is to cut Medicare payments to providers.


    Great , now my retired crook of a brother in law who bilked millions out of the heath care system selling overpriced insurance can hit golfballs all day and dream of the good old days.


    As for Ryan and space . Has ryan been to Space X in California yet for a tour ?
    Ryan is light years behind in his understanding of space , technology and science .

    September 23, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    Which budget is he talking about that creates this 2040 deficit? According to him Obama and his administration have not passed budget in 4 years. If thats true you cannot calculate a deficit on an Obama budget, there isn't one!?
    NASA. We know we have the systems and technology to land men and equipment on the Moon even land robots relatively softly on Mars something neither the Russians or China can do, until they can actually do it we have yet another really really wonky unrealistic national security concern that China can threaten us from the Moon.
    Old style death panels ... he would not call them that.... he has another wonky version of what they are supposed to do. They the panel are not there to decide what providers can do under medicare, they are there to ensure cost is controlled and the frauds that have taken place hopefully don't occur. So for example if inflations running at 1% why should say medicare charges increase by more than that as the y have many times... Currently there is no check or balance on that.
    Try again Ryan but cut out the wonky analysis power point presented or not.

    September 23, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  6. don

    We've all been through the Medicare discussion before, (ad nauseum), but the pandering to the aerospace industry is a new one. In the first place, as stated, Paulie voted against funding for the program, but no surprise. What is most outrageous about his little presentation is the fact that President Obama, in shutting down the part of the space program he did, set it up so as to be taken over by the private sector; just as the Romney Ryan plan would. The little creep was coming down on the administration for doing what he and Willard propose to do! See what happens when you have nothing to offer except "Vote for me, I want to be President!"

    September 23, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  7. howard

    I am against DEATH PANEL for seniors ! Give them VOUCHERS so that they have the POWER to kill themselves at their convenience 😉

    September 23, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  8. af

    Everyone knows that ehen someone is desperate for a job he will say everything to attire people. We already know that Ryan spent 14 years in congress ruining the contry. Term limit for congress will be the best thing to cut deficit. Obama 2012

    September 23, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  9. Thomas

    Romney's youngest son, Craig, appeared at the town hall held at the University of Central Florida. Craig Romney said that when he first met Ryan, he was impressed the Wisconsin legislator had a "grasp of the issues" and by his ability to simply and effectively talk about complicated topics.


    OK , then maybe Ryan can explain why you didn't volunteer for military service , maybe your service was needed more on your fathers campain tail .

    September 23, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  10. Ronald G. Kirchem

    I have it on good authority that not only did Ryan run a sub-three-hour marathon, he also won the Heisman Trophy and the Tour de France, plus he set a new record for swimming the English Channel. He is clearly a person who always tells the truth.

    September 23, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  11. Kef14

    Insurance companies are the ultimate death panels. Not only do they not care about people at all, they are only interested in 1 thing, how to make more money. Make no mistake, every word out of Ryan's mouth is crafted by people working for insurance companies to trick American's into letting them keep that status quo of making American's pay more for services than anywhere else.

    September 23, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  12. DougH2

    I guess the private sector couldn't deliver. President Obama decided to rely on the private sector to create the next generation of launch vehicles. I guess there are some things that we actually need to rely on the public sector to do and actually fund them. But that means you have to collect taxes to fund them. Actualy, that was the problem with Bush and the Republican Congresses from 2001-2007. He wanted to start a system called Ares. Ares 1-4, however, never received funding from the Republican Congress.

    Bush, again, weakened NASA and now the Republicans want to hang it around President Obama's neck. But the American public has become a smarter about the plan. It hasn't worked for the deficit and debt. It hasn't work for the economy. And it won't work with NASA. Intellectual dishonesty is the same as bold-faced lying.

    Lyn' Ryan strikes again.

    September 23, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |

    The scarecrow is going around scaring the gullible and uninformed.

    September 23, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  14. tammyk tammy

    What Lyan Ryan fails to tell seniors is that once the ACA goes into effect, hospitals will no longer be dependent on Medicare payments to make up for the billions of dollar in revenue they lose from uninsured patients who are unable to pay. The basic tenets of insurance hold that spreading risk across a larger group reduces the cost to each individual since those who use less care than what they pay for will help pay for those who use more care. Same thing with auto and fire insurance – you hope you never need to use them, but if you do, you will likely collect more than you paid in if you have a bad accident or your house burns down. The insurer uses the pooled money to pay your claim. Sounds like Socialism right? But this concept of pooling people together to share risk has worked well for a long time. Under the ACA, providers will be able to collect insurance payments for most all patients, they will no longer have to shift their losses from the uninsured onto the backs of Medicare patients.

    September 23, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  15. Marry

    Ryan a con men with the typical nutshell game! Now you see it – now you don’t! During his years in Congress deficits did not matter for him and the GOP and when they recklessly go into new wars they will not matter again.
    Ryan – effective to build anything? Is he kidding? All he and his GOP/TP can do is tearing down. All idiots can do that – it goes fast (best with wars and make a profit for the rich on top of it!).
    But to build takes time, commitment, ideas, love for people and country! Living conditions (jobs, housing, health care) and opportunities (schools / education / infrastructure) for the people and the country are none of his or the GOP/TP's concern as we heard from the “horse’s mouth”.
    Alone the pledge to reduce the tax “burden” for them – “those” people will have to make up the difference and if they can’t (that’s why Romney was so mad at YOU moochers) – that is their problem not the rich peoples! The rich will under the GOP plan always be the haves without any responsibility for the country but reaping the profits without leaving a door open for you to follow! We will stay or become the have not’s if we let them win!

    High time to end this R+R madness, GOP/TP obstructionist Congress, and filibuster Senate! Get your voter ID’s ready and vote for a fair and workable future – for all!!! President Obama and a Democratic ticket 2012!!

    September 23, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  16. Gerald1818

    The space program ? Let's spend more for this program and gut medicare & medicaid. What a joke

    September 23, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  17. Tor213

    What is Ryan talking about?
    Curiosity Rover making exploration on Mars and 4 private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp making history in partnering with NASA to transport astraunauts and citizens to space, isn't that a great advancement?
    How is Ryan, all of a sudden, became a supporter of government run program and oppose private companies like SpaceX,Blue Origin, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp working to advance? Ryan, I just don't know whether to lagh or President Clinton said.

    September 23, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  18. 200 TON HAMMER

    Hey ryan when will you do a fact check power point chart showing the facts of your real agenda for the middle class

    September 23, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  19. Zabazoom

    So if elected, Romney will make sure them spy sat are working and updated. Screw the science ones though. "If America is to remain strong as a nation, the national security space programs must remain strong and sustainable."- Ryan

    September 23, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  20. loken

    Lol. Stupid paul ryan. 2040. . .assuming we dont continue to be innovative. . .powerpoint really. . .sigh. . .politicians do not run the world. Physicists do. Dont worry. Everything that you rely on in your home at one point was discovered by a physicist. Not some derper with a powerpoint proclaiming the he is the prophet of the great depression!

    September 23, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  21. carrotroot

    Ryan's plan does not seem fiscally sound. Where are they going to get the money to pay for the massive increase in spending for NASA and the Military all while cutting taxes? That sounds like borrow and spend to me. No thanks!

    September 23, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  22. Jake in Omaha

    Time to tell your boss. The people want to see the actual tax returns for the last 10 years. No a note from his paid tax preparer is not going to get it. No we don;t trust him or you for that matter.

    September 23, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  23. Cam Spurgeon

    This ticket is idiotic. Serial liars and playing everyone for fools. Cmon folks wake up and spend the next 4 years trying to help the country and find better candidates. Don;t waste your votes on this pair.

    September 23, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  24. Capn Kirk

    There is a major flaw with the theory that the economy collapses by 2040. It assumes everything stays static, that absolutely nothing changes between now and then. Since things have already changed just since the time Ryan gave his speech his idea is invalidated. He's just spreading Doom and Gloom per the party line.

    September 23, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  25. OutWithThisGuy

    So as the typical filthy politician, using fear. This guy deserves to be know where near power.

    September 23, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
1 2 3