For many candidates, having one's mom on the campaign trail could prove embarrassing, but vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is using it to his advantage.

That's because Ryan has a senior problem: Ryan wants to make drastic changes to Medicare and Social Security, two programs that America's old people are very attached to.

Polling shows that, in general, voters trust Democrats over Republicans when it comes to these programs.

And in key states like Florida, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, the elderly represent a very significant percentage of the population.

That's why Ryan has invited his 78-year-old mother Betty Ryan Douglas to join him on stage at campaign events. He's also talked about her when she's not around, like when he told 60 Minutes that he did have a personal stake in healthcare for seniors: "My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida."

Whether or not Ryan's tactic works, he does now appear to be a bit of a mama's boy, and who wouldn't want to vote for that?

Of course, a more cynical person might reflect that Ryan is merely carrying his mother around as a prop, designed to deflect accusations that he will make life especially difficult for senior citizens. But what's important to Betty is that they're finally spending some quality time together.

[Image via AP]