My wife's family has been in town the last couple of weeks from Florida. Living in the Progressive bubble that is Asheville, NC, they are my main connect to the Real World Mainstream American Swing Voter, whatever that means. In 2008 this particular group of Floridians voted for Obama, though they had been Republicans in the previous couple of elections. One of them is a retired senior who lives on her medicare and social security. The others are nearing retirement and surveying the landscape. Today when we went for dinner, I decided not to mention the Ryan announcement to see how if it had penetrated into their world yet - the world that still gets its news from newspapers and nightly world broadcasts and generally trusts these sources.
After dinner the grandmother, making conversation asked me if I had heard that Romney picked a running mate. Knowing I'm a political nerd, she asked "Who is this guy"? Nobody seemed to have a clue. Giving me an opening to define on my terms.. So I replied "Oh he's that congressman who a couple of years ago put out a budget that ends Medicare." Follow me after the fold for their reactions...
The grandmother replies - 'OH I remember Him!! That guy? Well he just lost all of the seniors. Why would he do that?'
My father-in-law - 'He wanted what? End medicare? Why would Romney pick him? What an idiot, he just shot himself in the foot.'
Grandmother - 'well he already messed up with young people, and now all of the old people are going to hate Romney'
I was basically like "yeah that's right - tell your friends"
So in summary - at least in my small focus group - people do not know who this guy is. The one thing they do remember is his budget that wanted to end medicare. Obama will be blasting this all over Florida to reinforce this perception, I have no doubt. Maybe that's obvious, but it was enjoyable to see it play out in real life.
Edit: Obligatory wow my first rec'd diary statement here.