(CBS News) On the second day of his two-day bus tour through Florida, President Obama hit back against his Republican opponent's plan for Medicare, arguing that GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's plan would be a windfall for insurance companies.
"They want to give money back to the insurance companies and put them in charge of Medicare," President Obama said during a campaign stop Sunday morning in Melbourne, Fla.
He pointed to a recent study by Harvard Economics Professor David Cutler (who had also advised the president during the creation of the health care law) that says turning Medicare into a voucher program - where seniors receive a stipend to purchase health insurance through private insurance companies, which is Ryan's proposal - would immediately increase the cost to seniors by $768 per year.
The study also says that insurance companies would see an increase in profits of between $16 and $26 billion a year.
"So basically your costs would rise by the thousands, and their profits could rise by the billions," Mr. Obama said. "So here's the bottom line: Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare. Our plan strengthens Medicare."Continue »
Romney's vice presidential choice, Paul Ryan, also differentiated himself further from Romney by refusing to say that he would reject a hypothetical debt reduction deal - composed of a 10-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases - which Romney (and other GOP candidates) rejected during a presidential primary debate last year.
"You know, it depends on the quality of the agreement," Ryan said on ABC's "This Week." "It depends on the quality of the policy. Our negotiators in the 'supercommittee' offered higher revenues through tax reform. John Boehner did as well. . . . What really matters to me is not ratios but what matters is the quality of the policy."
During the interview with NBC's David Gregory, Romney said President Obama is to blame for provisional defense cuts that were part of the deal with Congress. When Gregory noted that Republican Congressional leaders agreed to the so-called sequestration provision, Romney responded:
"And that's a big mistake. I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it. The president was responsible for coming out with specific changes they'd make to the defense budget. ... The American people need to understand how it is that our defense is going to be so badly cut."
"They are dead wrong," Biden said told a crowd in this battleground state. "Folks, I don't recognize the country they're talking about. They are dead wrong. America is not in decline!"
He also mocked a statement by Romney pollster Neil Newhouse that, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Biden issued a challenge to reporters to "fact-check me!"
"It's amazing how they don't like to be fact-checked, right?" Biden said. "What they're proposing will actually cause the Medicare trust fund that pays for the benefits when you go to the hospital, the doctor, to run out of money, a sufficient amount of money by 2016. That's when it would hit the wall, and the most important thing they did not tell you."Continue »
(CBS News) No matter what Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says about the nation being "in decline," President Obama said Saturday, "there's not a country on Earth that wouldn't gladly trade places with the United States of America."
"When our opponents say this nation is in decline, they are dead wrong - this is America," the president said, drawing cheers from a spirited rally crowd in Seminole, Fla., the first stop of his two-day bus tour through the critical battleground state.
Earlier this week, Ryan said the growing federal debt renders the United States a country "in decline."
President Obama refuted Ryan: "No matter what the naysayers may say for political reasons, no matter how dark they try to make everything look, we still have the best workers in the world and the best entrepreneurs in the world. We've got the best scientists and the best researchers. We've got the best colleges and the best universities. We are a young nation with the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe."Continue »
(CBS News) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mitt Romney had Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight, and skeet shooting Olympic gold medalist Kim Rhode; President Obama has Scarlett Johansson, Kim Kardashian, and Olympic gymnastics all-around champion Gabby Douglas.
During his headline-dominating GOP convention speech in Tampa last week, Eastwood tried to make the case that despite conventional wisdom, a lot of Hollywood veterans vote Republican - they just "do not go around hot-dogging it." Indeed, during the course of his nominating ceremony, Romney scored stage appearances by a handful of other former Olympic athletes, including Rowdy Gaines, Scott Hamilton, and Mike Eruzione. Former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson roamed the halls of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, peddling a conservative take on the Rep. Todd Akin controversy.
"Former" celebrities were the name of the game for Romney, and they embodied "the very definition of the word, 'conservative,'" said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's pop culture center.
"I'm sure the question of the week for a lot of people was: Is this the best the Republicans can do - asked with multiple question marks and maybe an exclamation point," Thompson said. "Their lineup certainly didn't seem like forward thinking, but then again that's not how they framed their message. There are a lot of things they voted on in their platform that some would argue doesn't reflect forward thinking, either."
On the other hand, the guest list for speaking slots and after-parties at the Democratic convention in Charlotte this week has boasted names from Kal Penn to Eva Longoria to Pitbull to Ashley Judd, who's attending as a Tennessee delegate. America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson cruised the convention floor Thursday. Riding the hype of last month's Olympic games, Gabby Douglas was invited to lead the session Wednesday in the Pledge of Allegiance, after appearing with other 2012 Olympic gold medalists in a kids' health event down the street that was "unaffiliated," if opportunely timed, with the DNC.Continue »
(CBSNews) As the campaign season heats up, candidates of both parties have leveled a number of seemingly fact-based claims - some of which have held up under scrutiny better than others. Below, CBSNews.com rounds up some of its factual assessments from throughout the 2012 political season.
Upon accepting the Democratic nominations for president and vice president, President Obama and Vice President Biden on Thursday night made several assertions about their own records and about Mitt Romney's.
In his 49-minute speech at the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton cited several statistics and made a number of supposedly fact-based assertions. A look at which claims hold up under scrutiny and which don't.Fact-checking 6 claims in Paul Ryan's convention speech
In his convention speech last week, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan delivered a harsh rebuke of President Obama's tenure in the White House, and pledged that a Romney-Ryan presidency would do better for Americans. But critics immediately went after the VP candidate for what they cast as a series of misleading statements.
Mitt Romney's convention acceptance speech did not contain the sort of questionable assertions that had fact checkers working overtime following Paul Ryan's speech on Wednesday night. But that doesn't mean there weren't a number of comments that deserve a closer look.Continue »
(CBS News) Following in Mitt Romney's footsteps, Paul Ryan will spend Sunday preparing for the vice-presidential debates in Oregon, with a brief break to watch the Green Bay Packers game.
"You'd be hard pressed to find someone in American political life today with more experience at national political debates than Vice President Biden," said a Romney advisor traveling with the vice presidential nominee. The advisor spoke with reporters on condition of anonymity about Ryan's preparation process for a debate with the current vice president, who has extensive experience on the national stage and served for three and a half decades in the Senate.
(CBS News) Ann Romney on Friday declined to answer questions about same-sex marriage and birth control during an interview with an Iowa TV station, calling them "hot-button issues that distract from what the real voting issue is going to be ... the economy and jobs."
In the interview with NBC affiliate KWQC in Davenport, Romney delivered a message to female voters: "Trust my husband, he does not fail, he will not fail." But when asked for her thoughts on whether a lesbian mother should be allowed to marry her partner and if employer-provided health insurance should be required to cover birth control, she said she was doing the interview to talk about her husband Mitt Romney and economic issues.Continue »
Appearing in Orange City, Iowa, Romney highlighted the video shown on opening night in Charlotte that stated "Government is the only thing that we all belong to." After conservative commentators castigated the message, the Obama campaign disavowed it, saying that the video was produced by the city's host committee.
"Boy, they sure got that one wrong, didn't they?" Romney asked a crowd of more than 2,000 people gathered in a college gymnasium in northwest Iowa who cheered their agreement.
Romney used the example to make his case for a limited government that answers to the people. "The government belongs to us," he said. "We value the government we have, and we pay for it too. It ain't free."
In a swing state further west, Ryan told a group of 1,500 voters in Reno, Nev., that the root of Obama's problems lay in his policies, not his personality.
"President Obama is not a bad guy. He's good at giving great speeches, he's just really bad at creating jobs," said Ryan, who was raising money in Los Angeles as the president spoke on Thursday evening. "Here's the problem, when you think that the road to success and prosperity is more borrowing, more spending, more taxing, more regulating, a government-centered society with a government run economy these are the kinds of results we will get. And if we want the next four years to be any different than the last four years, we need a new president."Continue »
The popular host of "Dirty Jobs," Mike Rowe, entered the political fray once again this week by writing a letter to Mitt Romney asking that he begin a "national conversation" about the lack of skilled, blue-collar workers.
Rowe, an advocate of skilled labor, argues that the "growing skills gap" is problematic for a country that needs trained laborers but cannot find enough people to fill the jobs, despite high unemployment.
"Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills," Rowe wrote, adding that the country has a "ridiculously narrow view of education" by prioritizing traditional education and labeling vocational schools "alternative."
"Certainly, we need more jobs, and you were clear about that in Tampa. But the Skills Gap proves that we need something else too. We need people who see opportunity where opportunity exists. We need enthusiasm for careers that have been overlooked and underappreciated by society at large. We need to have a really big national conversation about what we value in the workforce," Rowe wrote.Continue »
Friday's monthly jobs report revealed that the economy added 96,000 jobs in August, a figure that indicates jobs are still being added -- but not at the rate economists, politicians and the unemployed had hoped. The jobs report is lower than the year's monthly average of 139,000 and even lower than the 153,000 jobs averaged per month in 2011.
At his 50th campaign rally since officially launching his re-election bid on May 5, Mr. Obama told a crowd in Portsmouth, N.H., that while the economy continues to add jobs, challenges still exist.
"I'm not going to pretend this path is quick or easy. It's going to take more than a few years." He added, "That's not good enough."
Accentuating the positive, the president indicated that the U.S. has now seen 30 straight months of job growth resulting in 4.6 million new jobs.
He went on to tell the crowd that his work isn't done. "That's why I'm running for a second term, to finish the job, to keep moving forward, to build on the progress we've made," he said.Continue »
(CBS News) Clint Eastwood left many people quizzically scratching their heads after he delivered an unusual, clearly unscripted speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, but the actor says his speech wasn't directly at the largely liberal crowd that has ridiculed his performance.
"I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle," Eastwood said in an interview with his local newspaper in Carmel, Calif., The Pine Cone. "President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that's what everybody needs to know."
Eastwood attracted the most attention for talking to an empty chair on stage during his speech, pretending that he was having a conversation with President Obama.
Eastwood told The Pine Cone that it only occurred to him to use the chair just minutes before his speech, when he was waiting backstage.Continue »
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday called the latest jobs report "disappointing," saying in an interview with Fox News that it confirms his argument that "we're going in the wrong direction."
The Labor Department estimated that the U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in July, and that unemployment fell to 8.1 percent because hundreds of thousands of Americans gave up looking for work.Continue »
In 2008, if Barack Obama's outdoor convention speech had been moved inside, he still would have raised the roof. When he was denied the chance to speak in the elements at Bank of America stadium this week, the closed venue seemed fitting. Obama's speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, like his presidency, has a lid on it. It was workmanlike from a president who had to strain with the reality of being in office. "The times have changed," he said, "and so have I." At his 2008 address in Denver, audience members cried at the end of his speech. Tonight, one delegate said Biden had been more inspiring. Another said Bill Clinton's speech was the one she would be sending around to barber shops and beauty parlors.
Speaking from behind a lectern that looked like the protective cardboard sleeve on a coffee cup, the president arrived to thunderous applause. A sea of blue signs that read "Forward" rose in the crowd. That was the task of the night, to explain how he would move the country forward. It was the president's intention to outsource the job to the audience. "You can choose that future," he said repeatedly to the audience. It was the logical extension of slogans that started with "Win the Future" and "Forward."
The president gave a Robert Frost address, a choice for voters to pick between one of two roads: "On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future."Continue »