COLORADO SPRINGS —It didn’t take long for the Republican presidential ticket to pounce on the Democratic Party’s gaffe on God. GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan took a big swing Thursday and connected on the proverbial watermelon over home plate, telling an enthusiastic crowd at the WestPac Restorations aviation hanger here that Democrats were “against God before they were for Him.”
Democrats rushed to amend their 2012 platform Wednesday after Republicans announced that the document had been edited to exclude a reference to God and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Both had been included in the 2008 Democratic Party platform.
The result was a public-relations debacle after the party approved the amendments despite clearly failing to muster the required two-thirds voice vote of delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The Colorado Springs crowd of 1,000-plus booed loudly as Ryan recounted the Democratic blunder.
“Their convention actually began with a tribute to big government,” said Ryan. “They actually said government is the only thing we all belong to. Then they cut references to God out of their platform. They reversed course on that one yesterday. It wasn’t really a popular reversal if you watched it on TV.
“To quote a prominent journalist from Wisconsin, ‘They were against God before they were for Him,’” he said.
Ryan appeared to refer to Politico’s Jim VandeHei, who hails from Oshkosh, Wis., and made the crack Thursday during MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Democrats described the omission as an oversight. “It was an unfortunate error,” Newark Mayor Cory Booker said on CNN-TV.
“We have a president of the United States who believes both in God, and we know that, but also believes in that plank [on Jerusalem],” said Booker, who co-chairs the party’s platform committee.
With Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sequestered in Vermont for debate prep, Ryan arrived solo in Colorado as part of a campaign swing through the Rocky Mountain states. On Wednesday, he made an appearance in Utah–a state that almost never sees a presidential candidate, given its unquestioned support for the GOP–and followed his Colorado stop with events in Nevada.
This was Ryan’s second appearance in Colorado since winning the vice-presidential nod in early August. He spoke Aug. 14 at Lakewood High School.
Attorney General John Suthers, who introduced Ryan, sounded a familiar campaign theme, declaring that the “vast majority of Colorado residents are worse off than they were four years ago.”
“Is Barack Obama’s hope and change working for you? Are you better off than you were four years ago?” asked Suthers as the crowd roared, “No!” “That’s right, in Colorado like the rest of America, hope has turned to despair.”
After the rally, Ryan was the main attraction at a fundraiser hosted by Suthers, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and Rep. Doug Lamborn.
The Obama campaign announced Thursday that the president plans to make a campaign stop in Colorado in a week, on Sept. 13, with more details to follow. This will mark Obama’s ninth appearance this year in Colorado, a battleground state.