Nightly News | August 18, 2012
>>> becoming the other half of the mitt romney presidential ticket, congressman paul ryan and his bold plan to transform medicare have tatake en center stage in this campaign. any talk of changes to the critical safety net is sure to get graying americans to sit up and pay close attention. therefore, both sides of the presidential race are trying to define each other's position. being hammered on the topic by democrats, today congressman ryan walked into a sprawling florida retirement community to embrace his plan and say it is president obama who threatens the future of medicare . nbc's ron mott starts us off from the villages in central florida . ron, good evening.
>> reporter: hey, lester. good evening the to you. this was perhaps the biggest challenge of paul ryan 's eight-day, seven-state tour of america's political battleground. for good measure today, he brought in some reinforcements.
>> say hi to my mom betty.
>> reporter: with his 78-year-old mom by his side, paul ryan made the case for sweeping medicare reform in a place touted as the largest retirement community .
>> like a lot of americans , when i think about medicare it's not just a program. it's not just a bunch of numbers. it's what my mom relies on.
>> reporter: a part-time floridian, her visit helped personalize a heated debate between the campaigns that today got personal among voters on t.
>> let's put a few more million in a swiss bank account .
>> he made it on his own at least.
>> reporter: his first visit here since being named the running mate a week ago was viewed as crucial by the ticket after assaults by democrats and president obama . you would think they would avoid talking about medicare , given the fact that both of them have proposed to voucherize the medicare system. i guess they figure the best defense is to try to go on offense.
>> reporter: while there were clear signs of protest at ryan 's event, so, too was support by a thousand dollar in the thousands, most of whose benefits would be unchanged under the ryan plan.
>> our solution t preserve, protect and save medicare does not affect your benefits. let me repeat that.
>> i'm only 60. i don't think i will ever see medicare .
>> we are spending money we don't have. it is the kids that have to pick up the bill. my kids, your kids.
>> reporter: mitt romney also picked up the charge online.
>> we've got to save this critical program. you paid into it, and you have earned it.
>> reporter: in his weekly address president obama knocked congress for sitting on his jobs bill while many americans , like displaced teachers, for example, continue to sit on the unemployment sidelines. he says something has to be done about what and he plans to do something about it. lester?