Paul Ryan, a champion of changing Medicare, spoke as a passionate defender Saturday, promising seniors that he and Mitt Romney would save it.
He introduced his 78-year-old mother to Florida voters to drive home the point that the health program ‘was there for our family’ and ‘we have to keep that guarantee.’
Meanwhile Barack Obama, who is campaigning in New Hampshire, castigated the Republican presidential ticket for peddling ‘trickle-down snake oil’ in the form of tax cuts for the rich.
On the Democrat campaign, Obama was casting the choice Election Day as one between two fundamentally different approaches to the government’s responsibility to its citizens and who pays the bill.
His approach of casting Romney’s plans as a giveaway to the rich was familiar but seemed to have a particularly sharp bite.
‘They’ve been trying to sell this trickle-down snake oil before,’ Obama told an audience in Windham, N.H. ‘It did not work then. It will not work now. It will not reduce the deficit, it will not create jobs. It’s the wrong direction for America.’
And as Ryan took the stage in The Villages with his mother Betty Ryan Douglas, Romney scheduled a series of fundraisers in Massachusetts.
The Wisconsin congressman said he saw Medicare’s benefits firsthand as a child when his grandmother, with Alzheimer’s, moved in with his family. ‘My mom and I were her two primary caregivers,’ Ryan said before shifting to his mother and the promise of Medicare for her.
‘She planned her retirement around this promise,’ Ryan said. ‘That’s a promise we have to keep.’
‘It’s not just a program,’ he added. ‘It’s what my mom relies on.’
He accused Obama of undermining Medicare by cutting billions from the program to devote to expanded coverage under his health care law, and asserted: ‘We want this debate. We need this debate. And we are going to win this debate.’
Older Americans have often resisted changes in Medicare, the federal health care insurance program for people 65 and older, and for the disabled.
The Romney-Ryan ticket is betting that voters’ worries about federal deficits and the Democrats’ health care overhaul have opened the door for a robust debate on the solvency of Medicare, one of the government’s most popular and costliest programs.