Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney laid out his Medicare plan and talked about his income tax history during a campaign speech in Greer on Thursday.
Romney landed at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport about 11:40 a.m., and then spoke with local and national media outlets about the differences between his and President Barack Obama's Medicare plans.
During the last-minute press conference, Romney used a white board to highlight the major differences for senior citizens using Medicare and the next generation.
Romney said his plan makes no changes or cuts to Medicare for seniors and will keep the program solvent for the next generation. He said his plan contrasts Obama's, saying the president's plan for seniors will make an estimated $726 billion in cuts for seniors, and the system will be bankrupt for the next generation.
"The differences couldn't be more stark or dramatic," said Romney.
Romney went on to say his plan is similar to the current Medicare Advantage plan, offering the choice between a standard government authorized plan or a private plan of the recipient's choice for the next generation of retirees.
"The choice should be for individuals," said Romney. "I prefer consumer choice to government choice."
Romney also talked about his vice presidential choice - Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin. He said they are a team, and while they have differences, Ryan's background and experience will be helpful to his administration if he his elected president.
When asked about the campaign climate, Romney said he knows the American people are disturbed with how divisive the campaign has been.
The questions eventually focused on Romney's income tax record. The Republican said he did not understand people's fascination with the taxes he has paid, considering the issues America faces, like poverty, Iran becoming nuclear and unemployment.
"I find it to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face," said Romney.
Romney said in the past 10 years, he has never paid less than 13 percent in income tax. He said he has paid taxes every single year, calling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's claims that he had not false.
After the short, impromptu address, Romney headed to a downtown Greenville restaurant for a private fundraiser.
Obama defends Medicare record in new ad
President Barack Obama is launching his first ad defending his record on Medicare, accusing Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan of undermining the health care program critical to millions of seniors.
In a new ad released Friday, Obama's campaign points to the AARP, which said in a letter to lawmakers earlier this year that Ryan's plan to transform Medicare into a voucher-like system would lead to higher costs for seniors. It says Obama's approach would strengthen the program.
Romney has criticized Obama for taking more than $700 billion in Medicare funds to help pay for the president's health care law.
Obama campaign is running the ad in 8 states: New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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