Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan arrived in North Carolina Monday to offer an early rebuttal to the full-throated support for Barack Obama that Democrats are expected to offer up this week in Charlotte.
Speaking before a crowd of more than a thousand at East Carolina University, Ryan said that Obama’s performance as president has been worse than fellow Democrat Jimmy Carter’s.
“The president can say a lot of things, and he will, but he can’t tell you that you’re better off,” Ryan said, echoing a line made famous by Ronald Reagan during his 1980 presidential campaign against Carter. “The Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now.”
Many talking points delivered during Ryan’s half-hour speech were familiar. Ryan told the crowd that “it’s good to be successful in business,” as his running mate Mitt Romney had been at Bain Capital. Obamacare is a “threat to young people,” he warned the many students in the crowd, and America should use its own energy to make jobs and put a dent in gas prices.
Ryan also pointed to North Carolina’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate, among the highest in the nation, to bolster his claim that an Obama presidency hasn’t worked out as planned.
Within moments of the event ending, the Obama campaign responded with its own statement saying the numbers are not as Ryan made them seem.
Danny Kanner, an Obama campaign spokesman, said the economy has turned a corner after losing 800,000 jobs a month when Obama first entered office and has added 4.5 million jobs over the last 29 months.
“Instead of the president’s forward-looking vision for an economy built from the middle out, Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan want to take us back to the same top-down policies that caused the collapse,” Kanner said.
Ryan came out swinging Monday as Republicans attempt to preserve the bump in some polls that Romney received after the GOP convention in Tampa last week. A new Elon University/News & Observer poll shows Romney leading Obama 47 percent to 43 percent in North Carolina. A High Point University poll shows Romney leading 46-43.
Ryan was introduced by Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory.
“Can you imagine what (Democrats) are going to say?” said McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, alluding to the Democratic National Convention that began Monday. He argued that Democrats can’t run on Obamacare or the economy, especially in North Carolina.
McCrory shouted “Elvis is in the house” as he called Ryan on stage and, with AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top” blaring, passed the microphone off to the Wisconsin congressman. Ryan, wearing khaki pants, a white collared shirt with rolled-up sleeves and no tie, then took to the stage, later drew laughs and some boos when he mentioned that “little gathering going on in Charlotte.”
Among those there to cheer him were Bill and Lynn Fell, who own a painting and home inspection businesses in Greenville. Both registered for the event as soon as it was announced, and showed up early to make sure they would get in the building.“I have a few trillion reasons I support Ryan,” said Bill Fell, referring to the national debt. “We need someone who understands the problems people are having. Romney does.”