Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Romney not bringing Ryan to Florida
Posted Aug 12, 2012 by William March
Updated Aug 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Amid speculation that Paul Ryan’s presence on the ticket could pose a risk in Florida, Ryan won’t accompany Mitt Romney on his tour of Florida Monday.
Instead, the new running mate will head for the Iowa state fair, while Romney holds a rally at Flagler College in St. Augustine tomorrow morning, a roundtable on housing in Orlando mid-day, and an evening rally in Miami.
Democrats are saying Ryan’s presence on the ticket could hurt Romney among Florida’s large elderly population because of Ryan’s well-known budget proposals, which include drastic changes in the Medicare and Social Security programs.
They were quick to leap on the Romney campaign’s announcement that Romney will tour Florida, but Ryan won’t—“Rather than vouch for Ryan on Medicare, Team Mitt sets up no-fly zone in Florida and sends new VP pick to Iowa,” tweeted Obama adviser David Axelrod, providing the lead item for a Florida Democratic Party news release.
Meanwhile, Democrats are answering the Romney bus tour, named the “Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class Bus Tour,” with a “Middle Class Under the Bus Tour” featuring DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, which will make a stop in Tampa Monday afternoon.
Florida Republicans are defending the choice, saying they believe voters nationwide, including Floridians, are ready for a debate over the future of the financially threatened elderly entitlement programs.
Asked why Ryan isn’t coming here, Romney campaign spokesman Jeff Bechdel responded via email, “After tonight’s homecoming event in Wisconsin, they are splitting off to cover twice as much ground.”