2012 RNC Tampa

Paul Ryan: 'We will not duck the tough issues'

Republican party is counting VP nominee Ryan to bring charm and vitality to ticket

McClatchy NewspapersAugust 30, 2012 


TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 29: Republican vice presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stands with his sons Charlie Ryan (L), and Sam Ryan, wife, Janna Ryan during a soundcheck during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC, which is scheduled to conclude August 30. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

MARK WILSON — Getty Images

— Paul Ryan on Wednesday stirred the Republican National Convention with an energetic appeal as the vanguard of a new generation unafraid to offer a sharp contrast to President Barack Obama while taking politically risky steps to reshape the government.

“I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready,” he told the convention as red, white and blue Romney-Ryan signs flooded the hall.

“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,” he said as he accepted the nomination as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

The 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman triggered the most emotional, longest-lasting cheers of the week. Until him, the convention had been slow to erupt in long, appreciative cheers, even for Ann Romney on Tuesday night.

But Ryan is immensely popular within the party, and his address was designed not only to introduce the seven-term lawmaker to the American public, but to energize the many delegates who have only reluctantly embraced Romney.

“The Ryan pick has helped bring in conservatives,” said Justin Machacek, a faith-based film producer in Fort Worth, Texas, and a convention delegate.

Wayne King, vice chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, found “Ryan brings an element of enthusiasm Mitt Romney’s campaign was missing.”

Introducing the Ryans

Ryan on Wednesday offered a blend of his personal story, introducing his wife and children.

“My mom is my role model,” he said as his beaming mother was shown on the big TV screens.

He also played the traditional role of vice presidential candidates, providing sharp, pointed attacks on the ticket’s foes. “I’ve never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power,” he said of Obama.

The Obama attack ads, he said, are the president “just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that.”

He cited the bipartisan deficit reduction commission, recalling, “They came back with an urgent report. (Obama) thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” Ryan voted against that plan.

When Republicans offered ideas to curb runaway deficits, he said, the president did “nothing, nothing except to dodge and demagog the issue.”

No budget details yet

Ryan avoided details of his controversial budget blueprint, saying only, “With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.”

He was more specific Wednesday in his wish that the 2010 federal health care law be scrapped.

“Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country,” he said. “The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.”

He blasted the Obama administration for “$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare,” though those savings are subject to the recommendations of an independent panel and would need legislative and presidential approval. And some of those savings will help pay for other types of senior care and reducing the federal debt.

Ryan would change how seniors get care. Those turning 65 after 2023 would get federal help to buy coverage from private plans or traditional Medicare.

“Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours,” Ryan said. Democrats contend that under Ryan’s proposal seniors would face increase health care costs they’ll have trouble affording.

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