Ryan: Election Is 'Referendum' on Obama's Failed Leadership

Wednesday, 22 Aug 2012 09:11 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Rep. Paul Ryan Tuesday brushed off negative attacks from the Obama campaign, saying he isn't "worried at all" because the November election will come down to "a referendum on the president's failed leadership."

In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, the Republican vice presidential nominee said he believes the country will see through the Obama campaign's strategy of "attack and blame" because voters "want real leadership."

"They want us to get this country on the right track. So, yes, it's a referendum on the president's failed leadership," Ryan said, adding that Obama can't compete with "the positive vision" offered by Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency.

The Wisconsin congressman, who Romney picked on Aug. 11 to be his running mate, was the target of negative Democratic attacks on his budget and Medicare plans long before he was elevated to the GOP presidential ticket. Some of the ads depicted him as a heartless politician willing to push a wheelchair-bound "granny'' off a cliff in his attempt to cut Medicare costs and other government spending.

Asked by Hannity about whether the ads would have any effect on the campaign, Ryan said, "I'm not worried about this."

"I'm really not worried about this at all because people see through this," Ryan added, noting he represents a blue collar district that has repeatedly voted for Democratic presidential candidates over the years.

"I represent a congressional district that voted for Clinton, Gore, Dukakis, and Obama," he said. "My average [winning margin] is about 63 percent re-election. I'm a conservative. Why is that? It's because people are ready to be talked to like adults. They're ready to have solutions offered to them . . . They don't want to be pandered to like children."

Ryan called the president's record on the economy and other domestic policy issues "terrible," which is why, he said, "the president is preying on the darker emotions within people," including their fear and anxiety about the direction of the country, to make his case for re-election.

"And the more he throws of this negative campaigning, I think the less credibility he has," Ryan added. "And I . . . don't think the country is going to stand for it."

He said he believes voters will come to appreciate that the Romney-Ryan ticket offers the kind of "candid, refreshing leadership" that American are searching for in their leaders.

"I'm not trying to be anybody other than who I actually am," he told Hannity, adding, "I've always tried to go with solutions."

"You know, I've always tried to say, here's how we get our economy growing, here's why we get our debt under control," he continued. "That's what Mitt Romney is offering."

The problem with President Obama, he said, is that he continues to believe "we ought to have a government-centered society and a government-driven economy.

"That doesn't work. Look at any other country that's tried that agenda. It's failed," Ryan added. "It's failing in Europe. They're in the middle of a debt crisis. And the problem we have is all these empty promises that government makes to people become broken promises."

Ryan noted that during Obama's nearly four years in office, the nation's poverty rate has reached its highest point ever, with one in six Americans now living in poverty.

His policies are just "not working," he said, adding: "He obviously knows that, but hasn't changed his tune."

"That's why I just don't think people are going to rehire this president," Ryan continued. "Because, number one, it failed. Number two, he's just promising more of the same. And number three, we're offering a very clear break with that and a path to get back on to prosperity."

The congressman said the Romney-Ryan campaign is trying to show the country that "the American idea" can be revived, that people can get back to work, and back "on the ladder of life."

In the interview, he ticked off a list of jobs he had as a kid, including working at McDonalds, landscaping, and selling food products, which he indicated at one point led to him driving the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.

"I did all that stuff . . . But it never occurred to me that I was fixed in some station in life, that I had some limit to my life and my opportunity," he said. "I was an American pursuing my version of the American dream.

"What President Obama is doing, he's dividing people in this country. He's speaking to people as if they're stuck in their current station in life, and only the government is here to help them cope with it," Ryan continued.

"It's very dour and it's very cynical. It's not the American idea. We're going to reject that. We're going to give the country a very clear choice of two futures."


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