Paul Ryan yesterday accepted the nomination to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, accusing President Obama of doing nothing to tackle America’s crisis, and promising a Republican administration would slash federal spending and generate 12m new jobs.
President Obama, Mr Ryan acknowledged, came to office during a profound crisis. “We have to concede that,” he said. But the president hadn’t kept his promises. “Without a change in leadership,” he asked, “why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?”
A Romney/Ryan administration, he promised delegates to the party’s national convention here, would offer “the clearest possible choice” on economic policies. It would finally tackle the country’s deep seated problems, of debt, slow growth and high unemployment.
The 42-year-old Mr Ryan, a seven term Wisconsin Congressman who chairs the House Budget committee, was picked to give the Romney campaign edge and a jolt of excitement, and last night he delivered. Time and again, he brought the packed arena to its feet, stomping and cheering, as he lambasted the Obama administration’s performance. For the first time this week, there was genuine electricity in the air.
Mr Ryan attacked Mr Obama’s 2009 $830bn stimulus package and accused the president of adding more debt in his term than all the governments of Europe combined. But his harshest words were for the president’s health care programme.
Obamacare was a prime reason “why a presidency that began with such anticipation comes to such a disappointing close. “It began with a perfect Triple A credit rating and ends with a downgraded America.” All that was left was “a presidency adrift, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.” What was missing was leadership in the White House. Mr Obama “assumed office four years ago, isn’t it time he assumed responsibility?”
Mr Ryan gave no specifics of the plan. But he promised, to create a strong middle class, by generating 12m new jobs over the next four years. “We will keep federal spending at 20 per cent of GDP or less, because that is enough. We choose to limit government not growth.” A Romney administration would not duck the tough issues, “we will lead, we will take responsibility.”
Last night, Mr Ryan’s figures were instantly challenged by Democrats, who insist that the Republican plan simply doesn’t add up. And in a pre-emptive strike hours before the vice-presidential nominee’s big speech, the Obama campaign released an online video accusing him of harbouring “out-of-step views from a bygone era” that would threaten Medicare, the popular federal health care programme for the elderly, and endanger women’s abortion rights.
The goal is to sow fear of the plan among voters in key swing states like Florida, where 20 per cent of inhabitants receive Medicare. But in his speech, Mr Ryan got in a pre-emptive blow of his own. He accused Mr Obama of taking $760bn from Medicaire to balance his own health plan. “The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.”Reuse content