Seniors have nothing to fear from vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare because it won’t affect their standards of living, Jim Martin, chairman of the 60-Plus Association, tells Newsmax.TV.
The Wisconsin congressman was picked by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket. Democrats have long charged that Ryan’s plan will “end Medicare as we know it” and harm seniors.
“Quite frankly, Paul Ryan’s plan to save Medicare has nothing at all to do with the elderly, like myself,” the head of the 7-million-strong conservative group for seniors said. “It’s for future generations and, for that, we applaud Paul Ryan. But also I’ve been asked about Gov. Romney picking Ryan. I said, ‘Well, to use an old sports metaphor (I used to be a sports reporter): He had [hit] a homerun with the bases loaded.’ Paul Ryan is a very serious, thoughtful legislator and seniors have nothing to fear from Paul Ryan.”
Martin said Democrats long ago turned demagoguery on senior’s issues such as Social Security and Medicare into a fine art to scare seniors.
“Barry Goldwater was always demagogued about Social Security,” he said. “Now, it’s Medicare, or ‘Medi-scare,’ as we like to call it. So it’s all according to how the message is sold. And, quite frankly, the governor and Paul Ryan are two of the smartest, most intelligent people running in this campaign.
“And I’m telling you right now I’m excited about it because they’re going to bring the battle to the Democrats on this particular issue,” Martin said. “The Democrats keep saying, ‘They’re so glad to have Paul Ryan.’ I say, ‘Careful what you wish for.’”
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Martin predicted that the over-65-age group that went for Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008 by a 54 percent margin will swing the election for Romney.
“They will because of this bill that’s now called Obamacare, this healthcare overhaul — this 2,700 page monstrosity, if you will — which was rammed down the throats of seniors. … They got motivated when this bill was rammed down their throats two years ago,” he said. “People say to me, ‘Mr. Ryan is going to end Medicare as we know it’ — the Democrats’ favorite talking point. That was voted, by the way, by the fact checkers as the lie of the year — not the lie of the week, lie of the month, the lie of the year.
“On top of that, I say ending Medicare as know it is the Democrats’ favorite talking point. Ending Medicare as we know it happened with the passage of this abominable bill over two years called Obamacare,” Martin said.
The senior citizens’ advocate said Obamacare and government overspending will push Florida, a key swing state, into Romney’s column.
“Senior citizens have to balance their budgets — they live on limited incomes, many of those seniors. By the way, we have almost 800,000 thousand seniors in my home state of Florida. Our spokesman is none other than Pat Boone, who I’m happy to point out; he was born in Jacksonville, Fla.,” Martin said. “I grew up down in Hollywood, Fla. — Fort Lauderdale area. Senior citizens are motivated; they’re enthused. They’re going to get out and vote in massive numbers.
“The overspending — I can’t overemphasize that enough because seniors have to live within their means we think the government should have to, too.” He said. “That’s another key facet of Paul Ryan’s budget plan. After all, he’s the chairman of the budget committee.”
Martin said the key for seniors going into the fall elections was to stay informed and not be misled by political ads.
“Well actually I say, tell them to stay informed,” he said. “Actually they will be informed; they always are. If any segment is informed, it’s seniors, that greatest generation as Tom Brokaw called those seniors, men and women who have fought for our freedom.”
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