Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan delivered his speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, focusing on the failures of President Barack Obama and offering ways he said he and presidential nominee Mitt Romney could solve the nation's problems. He spoke on the need to shrink the government and decrease its role in people's lives, and how doing so will spur job creation and the economy to improve.
The speech was the most high-profile of the Wisconsin representative's career, and he was charged with laying the case for the Republican ticket and the groundwork for Romney's own speech Thursday night. Ryan said the two men will "meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words," in contrast to the lack of leadership he said the country's seen from Obama.
"Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House," Mr. Ryan said. "What's missing is leadership in the White House."
Ryan is best known for his controversial budget plans that slash government spending and lower taxes. He said the government must stop spending money it doesn't have.
"In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of G.D.P., or less," he promised. "That is enough."
While Ryan received rousing applause from delegates in the convention hall and at times spoke directly into the camera to address the millions of Americans watching from home, Democrats have been quick to point out some factual inaccuracies in Ryan's speech that have become a regular part of the campaign's narrative. This year's presidential race has been called one of the nastiest in history, with the media pointing out Romney and Ryan continue to lie about Obama's "gutting" of Medicare. (Obama supporters are also guilty of deception, with a super PAC ad falsely insinuating that Romney was somehow responsible for the death of the wife of a steelwork who lost his job at plant closed by Romney's former company Bain Capital.) But that is not the only falsehood the Romney-Ryan campaign is touting. Of Ryan's speech, U.S. News's Robert Schlesinger writes:
And speaking of truth, or lack of it, he trotted out the usual attack about Medicare cuts in Obamacare. What he failed to mention was that the Republican budget passed by the House—and authored by one Paul Ryan—kept the exact same cuts.
Ryan also repeated the lie that Obama was to blame for the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wis. In fact, the plant closed in December 2008, before Obama even took office and the year before his administration provided an $80 billion bailout to the auto industry.
The vice presidential nominee praised Romney's business experience and said it, along with looser government regulations, will help him turn the economy around.
"He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones," Mr. Ryan said of Mr. Romney. "By the way, being successful in business—that's a good thing."
Following Ann Romney's speech Tuesday night, Ryan's was one of few to focus so exclusively on Mitt Romney himself. Many speeches given at the convention have focused on why Obama is the wrong choice, rather than why Romney is the right one. Keynote speaker Gov. Chris Christie didn't even mention Romney's name until 16 minutes into his speech, speaking mainly about his own accomplishments in New Jersey.
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