Ryan rallies huge Lakewood crowd, avoids Medicare
LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Four days after being tapped as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan rallied around 2,000 supporters inside a packed gymnasium at Lakewood High School Tuesday morning.
Ryan, whose addition to the GOP ticket has added a jolt of energy to the conservative base and changed the dynamic of the campaign itself, looked to make a solid first impression on voters in the important metro suburbs and across this critical swing state.
“I’ve been climbing Fourteeners in this great state for 20 years,” Ryan said, leading off his remarks by mentioning that he and his family had planned to be vacationing in Colorado this week before he was asked to join the ticket.
From there, Ryan pivoted into his standard speech, given without the use of teleprompters in punchy, caffeinated prose.
“No doubt President Obama inherited a tough situation,” Ryan said. “Here’s the problem — he’s made it worse.
“We can create 12 million jobs in our first four years. We are offering solutions.”
Ryan’s speech, which lasted less than 20 minutes, was a looser version of the five-point plan Romney outlined in Jefferson County two weeks ago, hitting on the five key priorities of a Romney administration: energy independence, education reform, debt reduction, small business outreach and job growth.
“We won’t blame others. We will lead,” Ryan said. “It is not too late to turn our country around, to give our children a debt-free nation and to reignite the American Dream.”
Interestingly, Ryan never sought to frame the argument over his controversial House GOP budget that has, with his selection as Romney’s vice presidential candidate, suddenly become a central issue in the race for the White House.
The Obama campaign is already highlighting how Ryan’s package includes drastic spending cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which could cost Romney in a state like Florida.
“It’s a curious strategy.”
ProgressNow Action, a Colorado-based progressive group, also brought attention to something Ryan didn’t mention: his support for Personhood and his strong pro-life stance.
The group had two young girls register for the event as “Fertilized Eggs” and they even took pictures with Joe Coors, the Republican running for Congress in Lakewood who’s supported Personhood in years past.
A group taking a similar hardline stance against abortion was also in Colorado Tuesday, driving billboard trucks through Arvada with graphic, bloody images of aborted babies.
Ryan flew to Denver Monday night and attended two private fundraisers ahead of Tuesday morning’s rally. Following the speech, Ryan heads to Las Vegas.