Ryan: 'Let's Get This Done'
The House Budget Committee chairman depended on his strengths as a number-cruncher to lay out a down-to-earth case for why Americans should lean on the Romney-Ryan ticket to pull the country out of an economic crisis.
"Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business," Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the Republican National Convention tonight.
"But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care."
Ryan accepted the party's nomination for vice president "to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity – and I know we can do this."
"I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power," he said. "They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left."
"With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that."
Ryan introduced his family to the crowd -- and to the national audience -- and called his late father "a gentle presence" in his life growing up in Janesville, Wis.
"President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account," he said. "My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory."
Though Obama promised on the campaign trail that the GM plant would be open for "another hundred years" with government support, the congressman said, the plant shut down within the year (during whose term was an online debate after Ryan's speech) and is locked up to this day.
"Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed. Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty," he said. "...So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?"
Ryan stressed that Medicare "is a promise, and we will honor it." On the debt crisis, the focus of his "Path to Prosperity" budget plan, he said, "I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this."
"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life," he said. "Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you."
The chairman said when he was growing up washing dishes or waiting tables, "I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. ... That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners."
Ryan quipped that, a generation apart, Mitt Romney's iPod is stocked with songs heard "on many hotel elevators" while his "playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin."
"Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable," the Catholic congressman said. "Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country."
Ryan vowed that in the White House, "we will not duck the tough issues, we will lead; we will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility; we will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles."
"When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said, 'Let’s get this done' – and that is exactly what we’re going to do," he said.
Update: Video of Ryan speech follows on next page: