By Amie Parnes - 07/19/12 07:22 PM EDT
President Obama, campaigning in Florida on Thursday, ramped up his talk on healthcare and Medicare, seeking to convince voters — including the state’s senior citizens — that Mitt Romney’s ideas are “the wrong way to go.”
Speaking to a crowd at a convention center in Jacksonville, Obama said Romney plans to roll back healthcare reform, “forcing more than 200,000 Floridians to pay more for their prescription drugs.”
He also slapped a House Republican plan — supported by Romney — that he said would turn Medicare into a voucher program that would tell seniors: “You're out of luck. You're on your own.
“That’s not the way to reduce the deficit,” Obama said. “We shouldn’t be squeezing money out of our seniors.”
Romney's campaign earlier on Thursday said their candidate's plan would strengthen Medicare. The Romney camp also borrowed a line Democrats have used against Republicans, arguing Obama's plan would "end Medicare as we know it."
Romney campaign policy director Lanhee Chen said Obama would take “hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to spend on Obamacare and will leave seniors with fewer choices."
Obama's remarks came at the start of a two-day swing through the Sunshine State, which he won in 2008 by a margin of 2.5 percentage points.
The state is once again up for grabs, and observers say it will be a close fight for the state's 29 electoral votes.
Obama will spend part of the day on Thursday in Jacksonville — an area he lost by a narrow margin — before traveling to West Palm Beach.
On Friday, he will stump in Fort Myers, a solid-red city in 2008 where he was rolled by 10 percentage points. But the area has fared much better since Obama took office: the housing market has leveled out while unemployment has decreased.