Tue, August 28, 2012
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Anti-Romney demonstrators brave storm as Republicans convene

2012-08-28 04:26:39 GMT2012-08-28 12:26:39(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

TAMPA, United States, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Protesters unhappy about presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday braved heavy rain to voice their opinion as the GOP convenes here for their national convention.

Some of them focused on the economic record of the Republicans, while others called into attention the proposed cuts to health care under the budget plan proposed by Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate.

A few hundred protesters gathered Monday morning in a park near the Tampa Bay Times Forum, with on-and-off rains causing major headache for protesters. Some took shelter under the trees when the rain intensified.

But many braved the occasional downpour, and the plastic ponchos handed out by organizers certainly helped.

The protest drew the usual anti-war and anti-corporate crowd normally seen in anti-GOP rallies.

William Turnbull, a 64-year-old from Florida said that, because of the arrogance of the Republican party, the United States went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan and "lost both wars" while wasting a trillion dollars.

But Turnbull said he also has an economic grievance to voice. "If we put the one percent in power, they are going to take everything we have."

He said he believed the Republicans want three things, "privatization so they can make money out of schools and prisons, they want no regulations, and they want a massive cut to social spending."

Acknowledging the country is facing a debt and deficit crisis, Turnbull said cutting social programs should be paired with cutting military spending.

Romney has proposed cutting social programs, but has vowed to spend more on the military should he be elected into the White House.

HEALTH CARE WORRIES

Before the convention, Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate. Being the architect of the so-called Ryan Budget, a budget plan that seeks to privatize part of Medicare, Ryan's selection stirred up some fears among those relying on government-backed health care or the health care reforms pushed forward by President Obama's 2010 health care reform.

Linda Bornstein, an independent contractor who works with adults with developmental disabilities, said she only has health insurance that covers catastrophic care, because she doesn't have an employer provided plan that could provide more comprehensive cover.

"I pay enormous amount for insurance, that covers next to nothing," said Bornstein.

"Basically everything's out of my pocket," she said. But when Obama's health care overhaul goes into effect in 2014, "that's going to stop, I'm going to have normal insurance again."

The Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as "Obamacare," would create state-based health insurance exchanges to cover uninsured individuals and employees of small businesses seeking to buy insurance.

"I can't wait for Obamacare to go into full force in 2014," said Bornstein.

Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare, while failing to provide a more concrete plan to replace it. But the selection of Ryan provided more clues about where he is going.

That is what Karen Clay, a Tampa resident, was afraid of.

Clay's son Michael has a severe genetic disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy and requiring 24-hour care. Clay said the state of Florida provides Medicaid waiver for Michael that allows him to stay at home and be cared for by family. She said the Ryan plan would take away the waiver and force him to be institutionalized.

Voters must "understand that people with disability have a voice in this election," said Clay.

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