The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Ryan takes GOP campaign to Richmond
By Chelyen Davis
RICHMOND—Newly minted Republican vice-presidential candidate Rep.Paul Ryan made his first post-convention campaign stop in Richmond Friday.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was also due to appear at the rally, but made a last-minute change to visit hurricane damage and victims in Louisiana.
In a speech similar to the one he made Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention, Ryan criticized President Barack Obama’s economic and energy policies before turning his talk to praise for Romney and promises to improve the economy.
“If we stay on the same path, we’ll get more of the same results,” Ryan said. “The president has put us on a path of decline.”
The rally drew several-hundred people, who endured sweltering heat on the tarmac outside Martinair at the Richmond International Airport or sought shelter in a hangar until Ryan, the headliner, arrived.
Despite the heat—which caused a few people to collapse—the crowd was enthusiastic, waving signs and cheering, occasionally breaking into chants of “USA!”
Ryan blamed Obama for the threat of a U.S. credit downgrade last year after members of Congress in both parties nearly failed to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling.
He said when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, the state saw an upgrade to its credit rating.
Ryan also blamed Obama for a divisive atmosphere in Washington that stifles action.
“This is the most partisan president, most partisan atmosphere we have ever dealt with,” Ryan said. “Nothing is getting done because of this partisanship.”
Ryan said he and Romney would behave differently in office, and said they have a five-point plan to help the middle class, use more domestic energy and reduce spending.
“We need to grow more things here and make more things here,” Ryan said. “We have got to stop spending money we just don’t have.”
Ryan praised Romney as “a decent man, a faithful man, an honorable man” and praised Romney’s record in running businesses.
Ryan cast November’s election as “the choice between two futures.” He said he and Romney believe that rights “come from nature and God and not from government” and that a Romney presidency would “reapply our founding principles.”
Ryan arrived in a plane with Romney’s website name and slogan on it, which pulled up on the tarmac in full view of the rally. His wife, mother and children were with him.
Before the Ryan plane arrived, U.S. Senate candidate George Allen gave his stump speech to the crowd, promising to fight federal defense cuts and improve employment.
“People don’t go to college to move back home,” Allen said of the difficulties in finding work.
The choice of Virginia as a rally stop the day after the party’s nominating conventions is indicative of the important role Virginia will play in this year’s elections.
It’s considered a swing state, one in which Romney and Obama are running close, and one both candidates need to win in November.
At a press conference earlier in the day, Rep. Bobby Scott, D–Newport News, said Ryan and Romney are avoiding explaining their support for changes to Medicare.
“This week, Rep. Paul Ryan and Governor Mitt Romney tried to reintroduce themselves to the American people, but they didn’t talk about why they want to turn Medicare into a voucher program, cut taxes for the wealthy, and balance the budget on the back of the middle class,” Scott said in a statement sent out by the Obama campaign.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028