On Sept. 21, 2012, AARP welcomed President Barack Obama via live satellite and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in-person to address AARP members at the AARP National Event & Expo, Life@50+, in New Orleans.
Prior to the appearances by President Obama and Congressman Ryan, the audience was welcomed by AARP Chairman A. Barry Rand and journalist Jane Pauley, who moderated the question and answer session.
Congressman Paul Ryan: Hey, everybody, how are you? Thank you very much, appreciate it! Jane, everybody here, I appreciate the introduction, and this chance to be with you here in New Orleans. You’ve had a busy convention, and I know that many of you also made time yesterday to volunteer around this great city. It was very much in the spirit of a group whose motto calls members to the service of others. It’s also very much in the spirit of this generous country.
This country honors those who serve — and we have set aside today, as a nation, to remember those men and women in uniform who were taken as prisoners of war or went missing in action. To honor those who have endured this hardship, and to remember those who remain missing, I’d like to begin with a moment of silent prayer, if you will.
I thank you for that, and thank you for your kind hospitality this morning.
Life@50+. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m told that can happen before you know it. I’m a little more focused these days on my forties, and in particular on the next four years. But I have given a good deal of thought to later seasons in life, not just as someone with his own family to look after, but as someone with public responsibilities as well.
Many in Washington who held office long before I came along made some big and fundamental commitments. It will fall on my generation to make sure those commitments are kept. The challenges would be enormous under any circumstances; they are even tougher in a bad economy. Many Americans over 50 are wondering: Will I lose my job before I’m ready to retire? Will the health and retirement security programs I’ve been counting on be there for me? What will happen to my savings if the value of the dollar keeps going down? What kind of nation are we leaving to our kids?
You’re right to ask these questions. You’re right to worry that years of empty promises by both political parties are threatening the security of your golden years. And you’re right to demand honest answers from those who are asking for your vote.
Mitt Romney and I share your concerns. And we respect you enough to level with you. We respect all the people in this country enough to talk about the clear choices we face on Medicare, Social Security, the economy, and the kind of country our children will inherit.
I’ll warn you ahead of time — these are very serious challenges. Sometimes, the math can be a little bit overwhelming. Well, let’s just start with some simple subtraction: 2012 minus 50.