From now until election day, Wonkblog will be interviewing voters from swing states about how they view the election. We will be interviewing both decided and undecided voters. We thank The Washington Post/ABC News poll and Public Policy Polling for putting us in touch with these voters. You can see the rest of the interviews here.
Wilbur Weaver is an 88-year-old retiree who lives in Cantoment, Fla., a small town near Pensecola. He is a Medicare beneficiary and registered Democrat. In the most recent elections, though, he has sided with the Republican candidates for president, casting a ballot Sen. John McCain in 2008. He plans to vote for Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday.
We spoke Wednesday about his decision to vote, his thoughts on the candidates and how each would handle Medicare reform. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Sarah Kliff: Tell me a bit about how you’ve made your decision to vote for Gov. Romney.
Wilbur Weaver: I think we need a change in government. I think we need to get rid of what we’ve got there, Bill Nelson [the Democratic Senator from Florida] and Obama.
SK: Why do you think we need a change in government? Are there certain things you haven’t liked about Obama?
WW: He’s run the government by himself. He won’t take a word from the Senate or Congress. He wanted to do it himself and let nobody else help him. That’s what he’s trying to do.
He claims that he was born in the United States but he wasn’t. He was born in Kenya. That’s where his parents are from.
SK: I’ve read Obama’s biography, “Dreams from My Father,” and everything he writes there says he was born in Hawaii. What makes you think that’s not the case?
WW: He can’t produce a good birth certificate. He won’t.
SK: He has produced a number of birth certificates over the past few years. Are those not good enough?
WW: No, that’s not good enough. He won’t release his passport. Donald Trump offered him $5 million to produce his passport and birth certificate. He refuses. He [Trump] said he would give $5 million to a charity of his choice. He should be made to release it. He should be made to do it.
SK: What do you think about Gov. Romney and what he would do for the country?
WW: He would do more good for the country, make it better for next four years than what he [Obama] did the first four years.
SK: Are there certain things, or issues, that you think Romney would handle differently?
WW: I have never heard of a president going to the Supreme Court to get them to change the Constitution to the way he wants. He got the Constitution changed. He made it so the [individual mandate] would be a tax rather than a fine.
SK: We're talking about the health care decision? And your view is that Obama told the Court what to decide?
WW: He went there and had the Court change that. He went there to change it, and got them to make [the individual mandate] to be a tax instead of a fine [so the law could stand.]
SK: Are you on Medicare?
WW: Yes. I want to keep my policy where I don't have to pay any premiums. The only thing I pay for is a co-pay of $31 for a specialist and $5 for my regular doctor. It works good enough for me.
SK: Romney has proposed giving seniors a set amount of money that would cover their Medicare benefits, which would be different from the plan you have now. Some analysis shows it could cost more. Do you think that's a good idea?
WW: I think ordinary people will vote to keep Medicare like it is. I think people should have a say in that. If it changes, it should stay exactly like it is.
SK: My understanding of the Romney plan is that Medicare wouldn't stay the way it is, because there'd be a limit on what the federal government would contribute. Do you think that would be okay for your health care?
WW: I don’t believe in changing it [Medicare]. I don’t know whether it will be okay. I'd rather see what happens. I'm more comfortable with what Romney would do than Obama, who wants to do away with Medicare.