The Romney and Obama campaigns — both convinced that their man is more trustworthy with the future of Medicare — ramped up the debate this weekend, with operatives trading prickly barbs, the president dismissing Republican plans as "snake oil" and Paul Ryan bringing his 78-year-old mother into the fracas.
Hoping to turn what has long been a political strength for Democrats into a liability, presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other Republicans are trying to hammer home charges that Mr. Obama "raided" Medicare by $700 billion in order to pay for other parts of his health care overhaul.
Mr. Romney launched the strategy last week, and Mr. Ryan, joined by his mother, Betty Ryan Douglas, continued the line of attack at an appearance Saturday before a crowd of thousands of mostly senior citizens at the Villages, a sprawling retirement community near Orlando, Fla.
"When I think of Medicare, it's not just a program, it's not just a bunch of numbers, it's what my mom relies on," he said. "We want this debate. We need this debate, and we're going to win this debate."