Ryan is scheduled to attend a fundraising dinner in Pinellas County on Saturday, and the Romney campaign said he will hold a central Florida campaign event where “he will highlight President Obama’s record of slashing Medicare for current Florida seniors to fund Obamacare.”
“Medi-Scare” politics are nothing new in senior-rich Florida. The Lawton Chiles gubernatorial campaign in 1994 barely beat Jeb Bush after making thousands of phone calls to seniors warning that Bush was no friend of seniors and that his running mate, Tom Feeney, opposed Social Security.
In 2010, Republicans took control of the U.S. House after spending millions on TV ads in Florida and across the country blasting Democratic House members for trimming Medicare under healthcare reform.
At the same time, Marco Rubio won his U.S. Senate race while openly calling for entitlement reform and cuts for future beneficiaries.
“I can’t tell you about the politics of something like the Medicare issue, but I can tell you about the truth. The truth is we simply cannot pretend [that being] on track to become bankrupt is acceptable,” Romney told reporters in Miami.
It was Romney’s fifth visit to Florida since clinching the GOP nomination, and for the first time he was joined by Gov. Rick Scott.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, at a stop in Tampa on Monday, relished that milestone.
“Rick Scott couldn’t be a worse choice to address seniors’ concerns about the Romney-Ryan plan, which ends Medicare as we know it and shreds the safety net for seniors,” said the Broward County congresswoman, visiting a South Tampa shoe store with a bus emblazoned with the title: “Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus.”
“Scott’s company was involved in what at the time was the largest Medicare fraud scheme in the history of the United States,” she said.
Scott said Florida is doing better than other states despite Obama’s policies but would have an even brighter future with Republicans in the White House.
“Just think if we had a president and vice president that knew that you build businesses and government doesn’t build businesses,” Scott said. “Think what this state could do again if we had the right president.”
The Miami crowd cheered Romney throughout — especially when he mentioned Rubio, who introduced him and whom Romney mentioned as much as his new running mate.
Judging by his speech in Miami, Romney would prefer to talk less about Medicare and more about the awful economy and high deficits under Obama.
“The president said he would cut the deficit in half,” Romney said. “If you think jobs are plentiful, if you think home values are good, if you think your healthcare needs to be taken over by the government, you know the person to vote for and that’s Barack Obama.”
Herald/Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.