COLORADO SPRINGS– More than 1,500 people cheered and chanted, “U.S.A.” throughout Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech that revolved around the question of whether Americans are better off now than nearly four years ago when Democrat President Barack Obama won election.
“No!” thundered the crowd in the WestPac Restoration hanger.
“Obama can’t say we’re better off,” said Ryan. “That’s why his campaign has gone from hope and change to attack and blame.”
Between now and November when voters answer the question, Ryan and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are promoting their brand of free enterprise, fiscal conservative leadership.
Ryan described the Obama and Vice President Joe Biden plan as a continuation of growing government dependence, debt and deficits.
Ryan said that Obama did inherit an economic crisis when he took office in January 2009, but his administration has made it worse. Then, the national debt was $10 trillion, and this week surpassed $16 trillion.
The number of people receiving food stamps has also skyrocketed, from 32 million on the dole when President Obama took office to a record 46.7 million in June.
Instead of turning around the economy, Ryan said, “They’re stifling jobs.”
He said more oil and gas exploration and development and the Keystone pipeline, would help create jobs in Colorado– and attain the country’s goal of energy independence.
Ryan said Obama and the Democrats want to replace free enterprise, “we want to renew it.” They want to change America’s founding principles, “we want to revive our founding principles.”
“It’s a stark contrast,” said state Rep. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) at the rally. “The most important part of Paul Ryan’s speech was that we have a clear choice about what kind of country we’re going to have after this election.”
The Republican presidential ticket offers Americans the opportunity to prosper and make personal choices said Gardner. Obama and Biden would “have the government redistribute our earnings, wealth and prosperity… It’s the path to a social welfare state.”
It goes back to the question, he said, of whether you believe government serves you or you serve the government.
“Ryan is a brilliant man loaded with solutions to address our serious financial crisis – including debt and deficits. That is the issue of this election,” said El Paso County Treasurer Bob Balink.
“Ryan and Romney are full of solutions,” said Balink, “and Obama and Biden are full of… shall we say, rhetoric?”
The crowd was ecstatic when Ryan strolled in to the hanger. Dressed in a checkered shirt and blue jeans, the Wisconsin Congressman fit right into the casual Colorado backdrop.
“It’s not what Paul Ryan said, it’s how he said it and connected personally with this crowd,” said El Paso County GOP Executive Director Bill Roy.
“He’s honest to the core, he’s disciplined and he’s personable,” said Roy, who met Ryan’s plane late Wednesday night.
The small greeting entourage included El Paso County Chair Eli Bremer, Mike English, Keith Sanderson and Seth Kelsey – and all are Olympic athletes.
Romney turned around the troubled U.S. Olympic games in Utah in 2002, and Colorado Springs is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters and a training center.
“In the last 10 minutes of his speech, you just knew this is it. He’s the man we’ve been waiting for a long time to fill this position,” said Roy. “And he can energize the base.”