Asbury Park Press

Seniors' Reaction Mixed To Romney's VP Pick

Asbury Park Press — Monday, August 13, 2012

Written by
Staff Report

Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin chosen over the weekend by Mitt Romney as his vice presidential nominee, seems to have widened the divide here between the elder fiscal conservatives already leaning toward Romney and those who fear that drastic changes to Medicare and Social Security, as Ryan has proposed, will hurt their families in the future.

There is contention about some of those ideas, particularly his plans for Medicare and Social Security. And that held true on Monday, when the local aging population gave a mixed bag of opinions about the presumptive presidential nominee's pick for No. 2, who isn't yet a household name.

"I really don't know him," said Charles Seigel, 82, of Franklin. "I will try to learn more. I want to make a decision on who I am going to vote for. He (Romney) had three choices. I don't think he made the best choice. He did make the right choice in not picking (Gov. Chris) Christie because he is not ready. He would have been very popular. He would have antagonized a lot of people I think, but he's not ready. Maybe four years down the road will be a different story."

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has constructed a fiscal plan that, if adopted, would shrink government and turn Medicare, the federal health program for seniors, into a voucher-like system.

The opposition says Ryan's plan, which also would raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, ultimately will cost seniors more — a frightening prospect for many.

Retired Franklin resident Yvonne Rutty said she's unfamiliar with Ryan.

"But I will definitely learn about him," she said. "I've never heard of him, but from the little clips I have gotten, he seems to be energetic. I have talked to a lot of my colleagues who are Democrats, like myself, and they seem to think he is a good choice for Romney. I wish him well."

Renzo Blazek, 70, of Piscataway said he likes Ryan.

"He's cutting the spending, first of all," he said, adding that he realizes most people don't know much about him (Ryan), but, he said, "it's just the beginning."

Betty Fitzgerald, 85, of Piscataway said she "will listen to the TV and read the paper and see what he (Ryan) has to say," she said, "but I'm not a Republican."

Jeff Brown, policy and communications coordinator for New Jersey Citizen Action, a watchdog group, said the choice of Ryan defines where Romney stands: for cutting down the middle class and giving millionaires tax breaks. He said that as the campaign plays out, those who would be directly affected by Ryan's proposals — the baby boomers and below — will disassociate themselves from the GOP ticket.

"I would imagine that your independent voters, the people who are going to decide this election — the people 55 to 64 — when they get into the policies, they are going to see very radical ideas, a lot of ideas that are going to hurt," Brown said.

Top Top | NJCA in the News | NJCA Homepage