This post has been updated.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, has brought his 78-year-old mother, Betty Ryan Douglas, into the campaign as the public face of Medicare. Medicare has been providing health-care insurance to senior citizens since 1965, and Douglas is one of 48 million older Americans entitled to roughly 80 percent coverage of their health-care costs.
Claiming President Obama has somehow jeopardized her retirement by broadening health-care initiatives with the Affordable Care Act, Ryan last week introduced Douglas at a retirement community rally in Florida.
Ryan, a seven-term House member whose father died when he was 16, extolled his mom’s hard work as a young widow. She cared for her sick mother and provided for her family after his father died at 55 by going back to school and then creating a decorating business in Madison, Wis. (“Mom, you did build that!”). Now in retirement, Douglas divides her time between Madison and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Broward County, Fla. According to the Associated Press, she has been registered to vote in Florida since 1997.
Seeing her youngest son’s political fortunes rise must be a wonderful experience, and appearing as a focal point in his campaign must make her very proud. So standing next to her handsome son, in front of thousands of other gray hairs, must have been a gratifying moment for the well-groomed grandmother. I’d have liked to hear her say a few words, but she took her seat without speaking.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post erroneously reported that
a Twitter account named @PaulRyansMom was associated with the vice presidential nominee’s mother. The Romney/Ryan campaign later confirmed that there is no connection.