President Obama: ‘Medicare and Social Security Are Not Handouts’

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September 21, 2012 7:56 a.m.

Speaking by sattelite at the AARP’s annual conference on Friday, President Obama took a subtle jab at Mitt Romney’s claim that 47 percent of Americans were “victims” who saw themselves as “entitled” to food, housing, and health care, among other things. 

“There’s been a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security in this campaign, as there should be,” Obama said. “And these are bedrock commitments that America makes to its seniors, and I consider those commitments unshakable. But, given the conversations that have been out there in the political arena lately, I want to emphasize, Medicare and Social Security are not handouts. You’ve paid into these programs your whole lives. You’ve earned them.”

Obama suggested that Social Security’s finances could be “put on more stable footing” in part by raising the cap on taxable income. He dismissed as flatly “not true attacks from Romney on $716 billion in Medicare savings included in the Affordable Care Act (and Paul Ryan’s budgets), saying that it “strengthened” the program. 

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