The GOP vice presidential nominee stopped in Oldsmar Saturday to rally support for the GOP presidential ticket. The Wisconsin congressman took the policies of President Obama to task over a variety of issues, most notably on the economy.
About 600 people gathered in R.E. Olds Park to hear the candidate and a variety of Republican figures to increase support for the ticket of Governor Romney and the 42-year-old Wisconsin Representative.
Among those “opening” for Ryan were Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and Bill Young, former St. Pete mayor Rick Baker and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
All highly praised the candidate while impressing the importance of Florida to the presidential election, especially the “I-4 corridor”, one of the most coveted areas of real estate by both campaigns.
“He’s a statesman, not a politician. That’s what we need (in Washington)" said Bilirakis.“Who knows the budget better than Paul Ryan? I can’t wait for that debate.”
Ryan has been an energizing jolt for the base of the party, after a stretched out Republican primary where it seemed the conservative wing seemed to back every other conceivable candidate besides Governor Romney, the choice of Ryan has lent a sense of excitement among many within the party.
Aside from almost purposeful mentions of Romney, the response today was as if the House Budget Chairman was running for the Oval Office himself.
Ryan took the stage accompanied by his wife and mother. He began his speech somberly, touching on the return of the bodies of the four Americans killed in the assault on the American embassy in Libya.
The Romney/Ryan campaign has been in hot water recently for “politicizing” the tragedy and Ryan seemed to tread lightly on the topic, but not without getting a barb in at the current administration later in the day.
“The only spending cuts the President seems to make is to gut national security.” Ryan said. “Look we turn on the TV and we see what’s going on. If there's one thing that this reminds me is that peace through strength works…if we project weakness they come. If we are strong they, our adversaries, will not test us and our allies will respect us.”
As per his reputation, the main focus of he speech was on the economy and what he sees are the failures of the Obama administration.
“If borrowing and spending and regulating…worked we’d be entering a golden age along with Greece.”
The congressman continued to lay out just what he thought was wrong with the idea of pumping money into the economy.
“We don’t need sugar high economics, we don’t need synthetic money creation. We need economic growth, we need job creation. We don’t want to print money, we want opportunity and growth.”
Ryan continued on his critique of inflation throughout the day.
“One of the most insidious things a government can do to it’s people is to debase it’s currency. We want honest money, that means we want honest government. It’s one and the same.”
The congressman is known as somewhat of a policy “wonk” in terms of economic issues, while the primary make up of his speech was an answer to what he feels are the economic failings of “Obamanomics” he didn't delve too much into budget statistics.
“The Obama economic agenda did not fail because it was stopped, it failed because it passed.”
Ryan noted that the President enjoyed a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate when he was elected, implying that it was the only reason his plans for economic stimulus passed.
“The basic question, is do we want four more years of the same?’ Ryan said to cheers “Do we want to go down the path of debt, doubt and decline that President Obama has placed us on, or do we want to snap out of this?”
Medicare and other entitlements have long been a key focus of the “Ryan plan” and he went into some detail on how he hopes to fix the system. Ryan’s entitlements have been highly criticized as dismantling Medicare. However the somewhat older crowd was squarely in line with his views.
“Never let them fool you.,Obamacare takes 716 billion from Medicare to Obamacare,” Ryan said as the crowded booed loudly. “Medicare should not be the piggy bank for Obamacare”.
"Obamacare" has been the subject of much ire for the Republican Party and today was no different. Ryan warned that the law would bankrupt senior citizen’s benefits and that a Romney/Ryan ticket was the best option to protect the “promise” made to the nation’s seniors.
“What we are saying is people like my mom organized their retirements based on this promise, she’s been on Medicare for more than ten years…what Mitt and I are saying is don’t change this program for people who’ve already retired. Don’t put their retirement in jeopardy, don’t debase their currency which hurts their purchasing power…get this economy growing..save this program for the next generation by having good, common sense bi-partisan reform from my generation so we can keep the promise to the current generation.”
Richard Cox, 57, an industrial salesman from the St. Pete area was particularly excited about Ryan being added to the ticket. Cox was originally a supporter of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum before backing Mitt Romney. His opinion has improved on Romney throughout the campaign.
“Romney comes across often as a little colder. Now that I’ve learned he’s a deep man of faith and the incredible things he’s done without taking credit…perhaps he’s a better man (than he appears)”
Richard feels strongly that a Romney/Ryan win is crucial to future of the United States. When asked what part of the conservative spectrum he subscribed to (i.e. economic or social) he simply answered “all of it”. There’s a sense of urgency coming towards November, but he believes that the Republican platform will catch on more and beat the current administration in a “landslide”.
“We’re on the verge of a financial collapse that’s being perpetrated by the government and the Fed. He (Obama) has systematically torn down our leadership around the world and that’s started to bear fruit….and (he’s) consistently attacked the Christian religion since he’s been in office.”
Cox says he’s long been a supporter of Ryan’s economic ideas and the man himself. Cox feels the Wisconsin congressman isn’t a “consummate politician” as opposed to some of the more polished figures of today (he pointed to former Florida Governor Charlie Crist as an example). The future of the Republican Party to Cox is with the younger generation of conservatives and that they will change the party structure “whether the Republicans like it or not”.
“What it is, is what’s in his heart. I think he believes and loves the traditional values of this country.”