President Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger in the 2012 presidential election, met tonight for the second of three debates, but three issues of critical importance to older Americans – Medicare, Social Security and the new health care law – earned only scant mentions.
The 90-minute debate, in a “town hall” format that featured questions from audience members, was on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley.
Here are excerpts on those issues:
Medicare and Social Security
OBAMA: You know, there are some things where Governor Romney is different from George Bush. George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher.
. . .
OBAMA: The choice in this election is going to be whose promises are going to be more likely to help you in your life . . . make sure your kids can go to college . . . make sure that you are getting a good-paying job, making sure that Medicare and Social Security will be there for you.
. . .
ROMNEY: He [President Obama] said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security, because he pointed out they’re on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He’d get that done. He hasn’t even made a proposal on either one.
. . .
ROMNEY: The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked. He’s great as a – as a – as a speaker and describing his plans and his vision. That’s wonderful, except we have a record to look at. And that record shows he just hasn’t been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we need.
The new health care law
OBAMA: I said that we would put in place health care reform to make sure that insurance companies can’t jerk you around and if you don’t have health insurance, that you’d have a chance to get affordable insurance, and I have.
. . .
ROMNEY: He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It’s gone up by $2,500 a year. And if Obamacare is passed, or implemented — it’s already been passed — if it’s implemented fully, it’ll be another $2,500 on top.
. . .
ROMNEY: And the thing I find the most troubling about Obamacare, well it’s a long list, but one of the things I find most troubling is that when you go out and talk to small businesses and ask them what they think about it, they tell you it keeps them from hiring more people.