AP News in Brief at 8:58 p.m. EDT

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Associated Press

Posted on August 19, 2012 at 2:00 AM

Both presidential campaigns jockey for advantage over Medicare, a dicey subject for both

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) — Who loves Medicare more? President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's running mate vied for that distinction Saturday as Medicare became the latest flashpoint in a presidential campaign of flying elbows.

The issue is dicey for both sides: Obama is steering billions from the entitlement to help pay for the expansion of coverage under his health care law; Paul Ryan is a champion of overhauling Medicare to make the traditional program no longer the mainstay for tomorrow's seniors — just one of many old-age health insurance choices.

But that didn't stop them from going head on.

On a day Romney devoted to raising campaign cash in Massachusetts, Ryan accused Obama of raiding the Medicare "piggybank" to pay for his health care overhaul and he warned starkly that hospitals and nursing homes may close as a result. The Wisconsin congressman introduced his 78-year-old mother to an audience of seniors in Florida and passionately defended a program that has provided old-age security for two generations of his own family.

"She planned her retirement around this promise," Ryan said as Betty Ryan Douglas looked on. "That's a promise we have to keep."

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