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Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 08/21/2012

Betty confetti from Paul Ryan's mom

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.

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 08/21/2012

Tags:  Twitter, Paul Ryan, Betty Ryan Douglas, Betty Douglas, Romney, Campaign, Optics

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