(WASHINGTON) -- Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan heads to New Orleans Friday to address the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) national convention.
At the beginning of his candidacy, knowing how much his Medicare plan would be a Democratic target, Ryan also walked into what could have been enemy territory. With his mom, Betty Douglas, by his side he visited the world's largest retirement community, The Villages, in central Florida. But the Florida crowd was largely conservative.
Friday's AARP event, dubbed Life@50+, features a crowd that's likely to be more mixed.
As he did in the Villages last month, Ryan will personalize the issue and say it's necessary to change the plan to save it.
"Whenever I think about the challenges we're facing, I think of my Mom," Ryan is expected to say, according to excerpts released before his speech. "Whether it's the mid-career worker who has to start over, the senior who relies on Medicare today, or the grandparent who wants to make sure her grandkids inherit a stronger America, she is my inspiration. Because I had such a strong example in my own life, I have an unshakable belief in the resilience, wisdom and ability of the American people to solve these problems."
Ryan will also strike a populist chord, blaming both parties for "threatening the security" of senior citizens.
"You're right to worry that years of empty promises by both political parties are threatening the security of your golden years," Ryan will say. "And you're right to demand honest answers from those asking for your vote. Mitt Romney and I share your concerns. And we respect you enough to level with you. We respect all the people of this country enough to talk about the clear choices we face on Medicare, Social Security, the economy, and the kind of country our children will inherit."
Ryan will also criticize the president for the Affordable Care Act, again accusing Obama and his health care plan of "funnel[ing] $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for a new entitlement we didn't ask for."
Ryan included those same cuts in his signature budget plan -- the same plan Mitt Romney has said he would sign if he becomes president -- but Ryan says he was forced to build his plan on those cuts because they were already signed into law.
The $716 billion in cuts do not affect benefits for today's seniors. Instead, they reduce provider reimbursements and are intended to curb waste, fraud and abuse.
Ryan's plan has come under attack from Democrats because it would fundamentally change Medicare, essentially making it a voucher program that critics say could cost senior citizens more.
Ryan says his plan is the only way to save Medicare from going completely bankrupt. Romney has said his plan for Medicare is nearly "identical" to Ryan's.
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