THE VILLAGES, Fla. -

Mitt Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan made his first campaign visit to Central Florida on Saturday.

Vice presidential hopeful Ryan says his family relied on Medicare to take care of his grandmother, and his mother now counts on the program in retirement.

Ryan on Saturday told a mostly older audience in a large Florida retirement community that Republicans will protect those in or near retirement from Medicare cuts if Mitt Romney wins the White House.

Ryan pointed to his 78-year-old mother who joined him. He says he isn't going to hurt his mother's financial security and wouldn't hurt others, either. He says he saw first-hand Medicare's benefits as a child when his grandmother, with Alzheimer's, moved in with his family.

"Medicare was there for our family, for my grandma when we needed it then, and Medicare is there for my mom when she needs it now, and we have to keep that guarantee," Ryan said. "Medicare should be the promise that it made to our current seniors period. End of story." In 2023, Ryan's plan would give seniors vouchers to purchase either private insurance or government-run insurance. Any other healthcare costs the voucher doesn't cover, seniors would have to pay out of pocket.

While Ryan says he wants to protect and strengthen Medicare, others believe he wants to take it away. A plane flew overhead at the rally with a tail flag that read, "Paul Ryan: Keep your hands off our Medicare."

However, the 42-year-old congressman says the program needs to be overhauled during his generation so his children will be able to count on it, too.

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