ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a Florida audience he and his running mate would protect Medicare and revive the housing market.
Romney, traveling solo since announcing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was his vice presidential selection, was trying to ease worries about the aggressive approach the duo might take to overhaul entitlements, including Medicare, a critical message in a retiree-rich state, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
"We want to make sure that we preserve and protect Medicare," Romney told an audience in St. Augustine.
Ryan, House Budget Committee chairman, has advocated shifting Medicare to voucher program beginning in 2022, among other things.
Democrats maintain that Republicans will dismantle Medicare. About 18 percent of Florida's population received Medicare benefits in 2010.
"The truth is that the Romney-Ryan budget would end Medicare as we know it by pushing seniors into the private market and raising their health-care costs by thousands of dollars per year," said Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign. "It's unfortunate that Mitt Romney would rather distort the truth than have an honest debate about the devastating impact the Romney-Ryan plan would have on Florida's seniors."