The following is the transcript of Paul Ryan’s speech at The Villages near Orlando, Florida, an over-55 community. His Mom, Betty Douglas 78, lives there part-time and came on stage with him. I have put some comments I think pertinent in bold text and anything in brackets [ ] is mine.
And we will not try to transform this country into something it was never intended to be. We will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles. ~ Paul Ryan
Mom, wave. Hey, everybody! Hey, everybody, how are you? Oh, wow. I want to introduce you to my mom.
This is my mom, Betty. She’s why I’m here. She and her grandkids are why I’m here. Say hi to my mom, Betty.
Thanks, mom. Have a seat, mom. There we go, mom.
Friends, we have a big choice to make. This is no ordinary election. It’s not an ordinary time. We have a choice. We can stay on the path we are on, the one President Obama has put us on.
It’s a nation deeper IN debt. It’s a nation further in doubt. It’s a nation in decline. Or we can elect a leader, a leader who will make the tough decisions, who will apply our founding principles, get us back on track, restore the American idea and get people back to work.
You see, President Obama and other politicians like him in Washington have become more focused on their next election than they have on the next generation. Not us. We’re not going to do that. We will lead. We want to earn your support. We want to deserve victory, so that when we win, we have the mandates, the moral authority to stop kicking the can down the road and get this country back on track.
It’s very clear that President Obama — you guys see that? It’s very clear. You guys see that? Yep, it’s coming. You got the medic coming? Thank you very much. Say hi back for me.
It’s very clear that President Obama inherited a difficult situation. There’s no two ways about it. The problem is he made matters worse. This is why the president has run out of ideas. This is why the president is not running on hope and change anymore, he’s running on anger and frustration, fear and smear. We’re not going to do that. We need real leadership.
Let me tell you about the man who is about to be the next president of the United States, and his name is Mitt Romney.
I don’t think I’ve seen a time in our nation’s history where the man and the moment have met so perfectly. This man is a leader. Everything Mitt Romney has done in his life has prepared him for this moment in our history to provide the kind of leadership we need. Look at the beautiful family he’s raised.
Do you remember the Olympics in the late ’90s? Remember the scandals, the wasteful spending, the bloat, the corruption? Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? When they needed someone to turn it around, who did Salt Lake call? They called Mitt Romney. And Mitt Romney turned those Olympics around and made America proud, and we thank him for that leadership.
Look at what he’s done in business. He helped start new businesses. He helped turn around struggling businesses. He helped create great businesses that we all know now — Sports Authority, Bright Horizons, Staples. This is a man who actually created jobs, who knows what it takes to get people back to work, to get businesses up and running, to create prosperity, to help people in need.
Take a look at what he did when he was governor of Massachusetts. Of all contrasts that we can have, this is as clear as it gets. President Obama came in to office promising to create jobs and prevent unemployment from ever getting above eight percent. It’s been above eight percent for 42 months. When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, unemployment went down.
And 23 million Americans today are struggling to find work. Nearly one in six Americans are in poverty today. Household income, family income has gone down by more than $4,000 over the past four years. When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, family income went up by $5,000 over his four years.
Remember President Obama used to say he’s going to bring everybody together? There aren’t red states or blue states, just the United States of America. We’ll set aside childish things. It’s the most partisan atmosphere I’ve ever seen, and this is the third president I have served with.
When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, a Republican in a Democratic state with a Democratic legislature consisting of 87 percent of the legislature, what did Mitt Romney do? He reached across the aisle, he extended the hand, he negotiated, and he balanced the budget without raising taxes.
This is the kind of man for this kind of moment we need to lead our nation at this crucial moment.
Now, you’ve heard the president has been talking about Medicare a bit lately. We want this debate, we need this debate, and we are going to win this debate.
Now, like a lot of Americans, when I think about Medicare, it’s not just a program, it’s not just a bunch of numbers. It’s what my mom relies on. It’s what my grandma had. You see, like a lot of people, and I see some Wisconsin hats all around here. Wow, that’s a pretty good showing. Hey, Pat.
We had this rule in Wisconsin. It’s kind of an unwritten rule. You turn 65, you’ve got to go south for winter.
We call them snowbirds. My mom’s a snowbird. She is a Florida resident. She lives just down the road over in Lauderdale, and she, like 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 need it then, and Medicare is there for my mom while she needs it now, and we have to keep that guarantee.
My mom has been on Medicare for over 10 years, and I won’t tell you exactly how many years over 10 years she’s 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’s what the president won’t tell you about his Medicare plan, about Obama care. The president raids $716 billion from the Medicare program to pay for the Obama care program.
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.
You want to know what Medicare’s saying about this? From Medicare officials themselves, one out of six of our hospitals and our nursing homes will go out of business as a result of this. And 4 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 Obama care is an achievement? Do you think empowering a board of bureaucrats to cut Medicare an achievement?
(Crowd says ‘no’)
Neither do I. Medicare should not be used as a piggy bank for Obama care. Medicare should be the promise that it made to our current seniors, period, end of story.
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 health care or your mom’s health care.
Now, let me just see a show of hands. How many of you are 55 or over? Wow. OK. OK, how many of you are not? All right.
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 want to retire.
The good news is there are bipartisan solutions to do this. The plan we support originated in the Clinton commission plan to save Medicare in the late 1990s. It’s a bipartisan 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, 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 to beg for the mercy of 15 bureaucrats whether or not we’d get our health care.
We think the best way to save Medicare is to empower 50 million seniors, not 15 unelected bureaucrats, to make their decisions on how they get their health care.
Mitt Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare so that the promises that were made that people organize their retirements around, like my mom, will be promises that are kept.
One of the ways that we can make sure that this promise is kept is to get people back to work, is to grow this economy. That’s why we’re offering solutions for more jobs and higher take-home pay. The Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is designed to get this economy growing again.
And 12 million jobs grow the economy at four percent — this would create 713,000 jobs right in Florida alone. The key to doing it is to get us back to work. We have lots of energy in America. Let’s use this energy in America so we can create jobs and lower our gas prices.
We need people who are out of work to be able to go back to school to get the skills they need to get new jobs and new careers so they can get back on the path to prosperity.
We also have to grow more things in America. My buddy, Adam Button, I see him here. He’s your Ag commissioner, knows a lot about growing things. We make things in America, we grow things in America. We have to make more, grow more, sell it overseas. That creates good jobs in America. [here’s how Obama handles agriculture]
We also have to stop spending money we just don’t have. We’ve got to cut spending, get this deficit under control so that we leave our children and our grandchildren a debt-free nation. That affects jobs today.
We have to champion small businesses. Small businesses is the engine of opportunity, the engine of job-creation. We need to — you know, growing up, my dad worked and my mom stayed at home. I have got three siblings, a sister and two older brothers. My mom stayed at home. When my dad died, my mom went back to school. She went back to college, got a new skill or a new trade, and then she started a small business. My mom had three or four employees at that small business that she started. We were taking care of my grandma at the time. She was going to school and then she started this small business. And mom —
Mom, I am proud of you for going out, getting another degree. I’m proud of you for the small business that you created. And mom, you did build that.
That’s what America is all about. I’m so proud of her for that. I’m so proud of her for doing that right in the middle of her life.
This election is the most important election in our lifetimes no matter what generation you come from. You know, there are a few things my dad would always say that have always really just stuck with me. Number one, he would say, “Son, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.” He was usually telling me this when I was part of the problem at the time.
The other thing he would say is, “Son, in this country, every generation of Americans solves their problems so that their children are better off.” That’s the American legacy.
It is our duty to save the American dream for our children and theirs.
When we talk about these things, when we look at the fork of the road we’re in, when we look at the enormous choice we have in front of us, when we have such a clear contrast between the leader in Mitt Romney and the failed leadership of President Obama, the choice is very clear.
It goes deeper than that, though. It really comes down to a question of what kind of country do we want to have? What kind of people do we want to be? You know, our founders were so eloquent when they created this country. They said it very clearly. Our rights as individuals, as citizens, our rights come from nature and god, not from government.
Our founders preserved this, founded this, secured this, and our veterans have kept it ever since, and we thank those veterans.
Here is the commitment that Mitt Romney and I are making to you, our fellow citizens. We’re going to give you the choice. We are not going to duck the tough issues. We’re not going to keep kicking the can down the road. We will lead.
We will not blame other people. We will take responsibility.
And we will not try to transform this country into something it was never intended to be. We will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles.
We are suffering from decades of politicians from both political parties that have made empty promises to voters just to get reelected. And soon those empty promises will quickly become broken promises with painful consequences for all of us if we don’t act.
We need leadership. We need to make sure the government keeps those promises to people who are organizing their retirement around these promises, like my mom, Betty. We need to make sure that the promise in this country is not only there for my mom’s generation, but for my children’s generation. We need leadership. Mitt Romney is the man for the moment to provide that leadership. This is a defining moment. This is our generation’s time. And you know what? We can do this. We can turn this thing around. We can get this economy growing. We can get families back on the path of prosperity. We can secure Medicare’s promise for tomorrow. We can do this. And with your help, together, Florida and the rest of America will get this country back on track.
Thank you very much, everybody! Thank you for coming out today! We love you all. Thank you so much for your support. We really appreciate it.
End Ryan Transcript