Biden's Sun City Center stump speech targets seniors and women

10/19/12 Janelle Irwin
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With 18 days until the election, the Obama camp is stepping up campaign efforts in key swing states. As Obama delivered remarks in Virginia Vice President Joe Biden addressed a crowded community hall in Sun City Center about Medicare and women’s rights during a half hour speech to the senior residents.

Biden cautioned the crowd of mostly senior citizens against the Romney/Ryan healthcare plan he says would raise Medicare costs for seniors by turning it into a voucher program.

“You’re going to get this chit in the mail if you’re 55 years or younger by the time you get to qualify and everybody will be off of Medicare automatically – everybody’s off. You can buy back in with that chit if you can afford to buy back in or you can buy private insurance if you can afford with that chit.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has criticized the Obama administration for taking $716 billion away from Medicare and using it to pay for the Affordable Care Act. But supporters of the healthcare law say that money came from reductions in payments to insurance providers and hospitals and doesn’t affect Medicare beneficiaries. Biden cited studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard that specifically lay out annual costs under a voucher program thousands of dollars more than what they are now.

“Every study has shown the reason why they’re doing it is they need to save money for these tax cuts. Here’s what it means: the first one of these they passed in the House of Representatives which passed overwhelmingly and Romney said he would sign into law if her were president, it would increase the yearly fee for the same healthcare you’re getting now by $6,400 a year out of pocket. That’s the Congressional Budget Office – the referee.

Obama supporters booed Romney’s proposed voucher program. Marilyn Dalby, a Sun City Center resident, said she’s also concerned that a Romney/Ryan healthcare overhaul would limit her medical choices.

“I think we would be limited as to the doctors and the hospitals that we could go to because of the insurances that we would have.”

Biden emphasized statements made by Romney in last week’s debate that he had binders full of women while avoiding an answer about equal pay for women. During that statement, Romney also said that many women need more flexibility in their work schedules because they have to get home to cook dinner. Biden said the comments not only show female voters how out of touch Romney is with them, it also paints a grim picture for their families.

“Because it’s about economic power. It’s about the impact on families. It’s more than an issue of women’s rights. It’s about economic rights and economic power. So when a woman doesn’t get paid equally, the family suffers, your grandchildren suffer, your son-in-law suffers.”

Women make nearly a quarter less than their mail counterparts in some instances and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that was the first piece of legislation signed by President Obama gives women a legal foothold to challenge the disparity. Biden said Paul Ryan voted against it in Congress and a Romney campaign spokesperson said that Romney would have done the same.

“If a woman finds out she’s been cheated at work in terms of her just compensation, she can sue for just compensation from the moment she finds out. There used to be a law saying that if she didn’t find it out for the first little bit of time, the statute of limitations runs out, she lost her chance to bring that action – minor change.

Biden also accused Romney and Ryan of interfering in women’s health care choices citing campaign promises to defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v Wade. After the first presidential debate earlier this month, Obama supporters criticized Mitt Romney for lying to voters and flip flopping on key issues. Biden played on a comment made by President Obama in last week’s debate where he said the Romney/Ryan economic plan was “sketchy.”

“But I would respectfully suggest, they’re not sketchy, they’re etch-a-sketch-y. You know those Etch A Sketch tablets that your granddaughters and grandsons have? Man I tell you, they’re shaking that sucker. I tell you what, and they’re dialing in a new sketch. I’m serious!”

Sun City Center in Southern Hillsborough County is a predominantly Republican community. The residential road leading to the community hall where Biden spoke was lined with Romney/Ryan yard signs and residents waving them. One of them, Linda Weil held a handmade sign that said “America can’t afford four more years.”

“We are headed down a socialistic path. I’ve lived in other countries, in third world countries and I don’t want to live there and I don’t want it to be a third world country here.”

Polls showed favor for Obama and Biden declining since the first presidential debate where most believe Obama had a poor showing. Obama and Romney’s final debate is on Monday. Today, the Tampa Bay Times endorsed the President and Vice President.

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