Paul Ryan Brings His Mom Into the Medicare Debate

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Paul Ryan wanted to assure the senior citizens in Florida that the rumors aren't true. His budget plan isn't going to totally gut medicare. To help make his point, he brought along the one person he knew they could relate to: his mom

While Ryan's speech focused almost entirely on Medicare, apparently he got the biggest applause for what he said energy and small businesses. That didn't stop him from talking at length about Medicare, though, and for the first time telling the story of his grandmother, who suffered from advanced Alzheimer's and moved into the family house when Ryan was in high school. 

"Like a lot of Americans, when I think about Medicare, it’s not just a program," Ryan said. "It’s what my mom relies on. It’s what my grandma had... Medicare was there for our family, for my grandma, when we needed it then, and Medicare is there for my mom while she needs that now, and we need to keep that guaranteed," he said. 

Ryan also told the story of how his mom reinvented her life after his dad passed away, but sullied the point a little when he included a "you didn't build that" joke. "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…We were taking care of my grandma at the time. She was going to school, and then she started this small business," Ryan said. "And mom? 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. That is what America is all about. I am so proud of her for that. I am so proud of her for doing that right in the middle of her life."

How effective Ryan's talk was is difficult to gage. When you consider who he was speaking to -- a retirement community in Florida -- a talk about Medicare should have riled up the crowd a bit more. Instead, there was a plane flying overhead with a banner saying, "Paul Ryan — keep your hands off our Medicare." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.