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Castleberry Fairs

FDR's grandson talks about Romney-Ryan plan and its affect on social security


August 26, 2012
BERLIN - James Roosevelt said he knows what his grandmother Eleanor Roosevelt would say about the Romney/Ryan economic plan, "and it wouldn't be pretty."

Roosevelt, the grandson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who signed social security into law on August 14, 1935, traveled the North Country Friday with Stephen Gorin, a professor at Plymouth State University, talking about what they see as the dangers of what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are planning, particularly for social security and Medicare. They stopped into the Obama campaign headquarters to talk to supporters.

"It's really exciting to be part of the campaign to re-elect President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, especially because there really is such a choice this year," Roosevelt said. "The choice to be made this year is huge."

Roosevelt said he believes Obama has made a commitment to fight for the middle class. The average family has had $4,200 in tax relief during his administration and he passed the Affordable Health Care Act, which is already helping American families.

"Obama care, and I like calling it that because I think it's going to be his legacy piece of legislation, like social security was for my grandfather and Medicare was for Lyndon Baines Johnson, is already helping New Hampshire families in many ways," he said, citing the fact that insurance companies can no longer charge more for pre-existing conditions "like being a woman, which was happening in this state and others," allowing children to stay on their parents plan until they are 26, and closing the "donut hole" in prescription coverage, which will start being phased in this year.

With what's planned for social security and Medicare, the choice couldn't be clearer this year, Gorin said. "I think in some ways Mitt Romney is the figurehead and Paul Ryan is running the show," he said.

He noted that 221,000 New Hampshire seniors rely on Medicare and that Obama Care had actually extended the time before Medicare ran into financial trouble by eight years. He also said 13,000 Granite Staters had saved $8.2 million on prescriptions.

Roosevelt noted his grandfather, when signing in social security had said "We cannot protect all citizens from all things, but we can protect against old age and poverty."

"He made a promise to seniors they'd be protected," he said, noting that social security was not something just given to them, but something seniors "earned through a lifetime of work and paying taxes on it (the money they earned working)."

Calling Republicans the "Go Back Party," Roosevelt said what Romney and Ryan were proposing was "a grave threat to the benefits seniors have earned."

"Ryan has gone so far as to propose privatizing social security, the same as Bush did. We all know what would have happened if retirement had been tied totally to the stock market," Roosevelt said. "The consequences would have been drastic."

He said some have called Romney's selection of Ryan as his running mate "bold and courageous."

"There's nothing bold and courageous about slashing money for education. There's nothing bold and courageous about taking away affordable health care. There's nothing bold and courageous about raising taxes on the middle class to finance tax cuts for the rich," he said.

"I know my grandfather wouldn't have approved. I know what my grandmother, she lived until I was a senior in high school so I got to know her, would say, and it wouldn't be pretty," he said.

Roosevelt was asked what she would have said and he answered, "She would have said 'this is not what America is about. America is about all of us caring about each other'."

He said she took a particular interest in getting women involved.

"She told my sister and cousins that women should get involved because they know what it's like to take care of a family," he said, noting she would be particularly disturbed by efforts to get insurance companies to not cover contraceptives.

"Preventative care is absolutely essential for everyone and to say that women's care shouldn't be included is outrageous," Roosevelt said

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