Mitt mate hits O on jobs & economy
- Last Updated: 2:40 AM, August 14, 2012
- Posted: 12:46 AM, August 14, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa — Paul Ryan, the tough-talking GOP vice-presidential candidate, jumped into the battle against President Obama yesterday — demanding, “Where are the jobs, Mr. President?”
Speaking at an Iowa fair just two hours from an Obama rally, Ryan blasted the president for squandering taxpayer dollars, driving up debt and hurting the economy.
“We need to stop spending money we don’t have,” Ryan said to roars of approval from a gung-ho crowd gathered around the tiny “soapbox” stage at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.
“President Obama has given us four years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits,” he declared. “He’s making matters worse, and he is sending our children into a diminished future.”
Ryan joked that Obama, who was at a rally in Council Bluffs, couldn’t find his way to the fair.
“He only knows left turns,” the Wisconsin congressman said.
He vowed that, as president, Mitt Romney would lower taxes on all Americans, making US businesses more competitive worldwide.
Ryan, who chatted with fairgoers along the midway, was unfazed by a barrage of catcalls from Democratic hecklers.
During his soapbox speech, activists shouted such slogans as “Stop the war on the middle class!” and “Go, Obama!”
A woman leapt on the stage and tried to unfurl a banner but was hauled off by police.
Ryan kept his cool.
He suggested that everyone in the massive crowd should instead tell Obama to “stop taxing small businesses and spending that money in Washington.”
Miles away, Obama slammed Ryan for helping to stop a government plan to help farmers and ranchers in Iowa and other drought-ravaged Midwest states.
The president accused Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, of being part of a GOP leadership that was blocking the farm bill.
“He’s one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities,” the president demanded. “It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away.”
The Romney campaign noted that Ryan voted for the House Republican farm bill, which stalled in the Democrat-run Senate.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) came to Ryan’s defense.
“The weak attempt by the White House to manufacture a controversy illustrates the president’s desperation to change the subject to anything other than his failures on jobs and the economy,” said Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith.
Obama’s attacks came on the first stop of his three-day campaign swing through the state. His extended visit to Iowa, a small state with just six of the 270 electoral votes needed to win, underscores how close the race is this year.
Romney had a razor-thin 2-point lead, 46 to 44 percent, in Iowa last week, before he picked Ryan as his VP. But a PPP survey last month showed Obama with a 5-point lead, 48 to 43 percent.
It could swing either way.
In Council Bluffs, Obama told farmers and ranchers he had singlehandedly authorized government help for them.
He announced that the feds would buy more than $150 million of meat and fish from hard-hit farmers and ranchers “and freeze it for later.”
Obama also attacked the Romney-Ryan ticket for pushing what he called “trickle-down” Republican policies that give tax breaks to the wealthy in hopes that their spending will spread money throughout the economy.
“They think that if we just get rid of more regulations on big corporations and give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, if we end Medicare as we know it, make it a voucher system, then somehow this is all going to lead to jobs and prosperity for everybody,” Obama said.
“Does this sound familiar to you? They have tried to sell us this trickle-down theory before. And guess what? Every time it’s been tried, it has not worked,” he said.
“It did not work then. It won’t work now. It won’t create jobs. It won’t lower our deficit.
“It is not a plan to move our economy forward. We do not need more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We need tax relief for working families.”
At the fair, Ryan stopped to meet Iowans and knelt to tickle a baby in a stroller.
“Hi, I’m Paul. Good to meet you,” he later said as he shook hands with 11-year-old fairgoer McKenna Flaherty.