Below are rough notes from my FNC colleague Joy Lin who is covering the VP candidate Paul Ryan event in Florida:
There were approximately 3000 people immediately here in the square, reporters noted there were more people at the events Palin and Gingrich held at The Villages. I’m told about 5K people were in the crowd when Romney spoke but I wasn’t here and can’t provide a comparison. One official told a reporter said there were 10K total today, outside the clean area, but we’re skeptical about that estimate.
Here is a slightly tweaked version of the Medicare verbate I sent out earlier.
**10:33:35 AM Like a lot of Americans, when I think about Medicare it’s not just a program, its not just a bunch of numbers, it’s what my mom relies on, it’s what my grandma had.
10:33:56 We had a rule in Wisconsin. It’s kind of an unwritten rule:
you turn 65; you have to go south for the winter. We call them ‘snow
birds’. My mom is a snow bird. She is a Florida resident, and she
lives over by Ft. Lauderdale, and she like so many people here, she
comes down here for the winter—just like so many folks from all over
the country do. You know, my grandma moved in with us—with my mom and
me—when I was in high school. She had advanced Alzheimer’s. My mom and I were her two primary caregivers. You learn a lot about life; you
learn a lot about your elderly seniors in your family; you learn a lot
about Alzheimer’s. Medicare was there for our family, for my grandma,
when we needed it then; and Medicare is there for my mom while she
needs it now, and we have to keep that guarantee.
10:35:00 My mom has been on Medicare for over 10 years, and I won’t
tell you exactly how many years over 10 years she has been on it. She plays
tennis every week. She exercises every day. She planned her
retirement around this promise that the government made her because
she paid her payroll taxes into this program which she had this
promise with. That’s a promise we have to keep. Here is 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. [Boo from crowd]
10:35:53 What’s more? In addition to that, he puts a board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of Medicare who are required to cut Medicare in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors. Youwant to know what Medicare is saying about this? From Medicare officials themselves, 1 out of 6 of our hospitals and our nursing homes will go out of business as a result of this. Four million seniors are projected to
lose their Medicare advantage plans that they enjoy and they chose today under this Obamacare plan. What’s worse is the president’s campaign calls this an achievement. Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Do you think empowering a board of bureaucrats to cut Medicare an achievement? Neither do I.
10:37:00 Medicare should not be used as a piggy bank for Obamacare. Medicare should be used to be the promise that it made to our current seniors. Period. End of Story.
10:37:17 Here is what Mitt Romney and I will do. We will end the raid of Medicare. We will restore the promise of this program, and we will make sure that this board of bureaucrats will not mess with my mom’s healthcare or your mom’s healthcare. Now, let me just see a show of hands. How many of you are 55 or over?
10:37:49 [laughter] Wow. Okay. Okay how many of you are not? Alright. Our solution to preserve, protect, and save Medicare does not affect your benefits. Let me repeat that. Our plan does not affect the benefits for people who are in or near retirement. It’s a promise that
was made and it’s a promise that must be kept. But in order to make sure we can guarantee that promise—for my mom’s generation, for those baby boomers who are retiring every day—we must reform it for MY generation. To save it for this generation, you have to reform it for my generation so it doesn’t go bankrupt when we retire. The good news is there are bi-partisan
solutions to do this. The plan we support originated in the Clinton Commission plan to save Medicare in the 1990s. It’s a bi-partisan plan in Congress today. It’s a plan that says: do not change benefits for people 55 and above, and for those of us who are younger when we become Medicare eligible, we get a choice of guaranteed coverage options. Guaranteed affordability options. Guaranteed affordability, including traditional
Medicare. So we get to pick the plan for us when we retire, and that means all those providers compete against each other for our business
and we don’t have the beg for the mercy of 15 bureaucrats whether or not we get our healthcare.
10:39:39 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 healthcare. 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