In Colorado, VP hopeful Ryan goes after president

Candidate says Obama will ‘distort, demagogue, divide’ from real issues

One of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s first campaign stops was in Lakewood. Enlarge photo

Joe Hanel/Durango Herald

One of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s first campaign stops was in Lakewood.

LAKEWOOD – A fired-up crowd of 2,000 got Colorado’s first peek at Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Tuesday, and the Wisconsin congressman took quickly to his role as bulldog for Mitt Romney.

“We are going to give America the kind of leadership it deserves to get its economy growing and people back to work,” Ryan said.

The crowd that filled the gym at Lakewood High School cheered and hollered at the speech, which blended elements of Romney’s stump speech with Ryan’s energetic attack on Obama.

He blamed the president for high debts and the slowest economic recovery in 70 years.

“All that he has left is to distort, to demagogue, to divide, to try and confuse, to distract you from the real issues of this election,” Ryan said.

But even as he spoke those words, the campaign steered away from the economic message that Romney has campaigned on all year.

Ryan climbed to national prominence because of the budget he wrote for House Republicans. It aims to reduce taxes and the national deficit through deep cuts to social programs.

It also would convert Medicare into a voucher program for seniors to buy insurance on the private market. The vouchers would not necessarily be big enough to cover every insurance policy. The changes would take effect once people now age 55 or younger reach retirement age.

Colorado Democrats called out Ryan as the author of an “extreme” plan to cut social benefits.

“In naming Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has doubled down on his commitment to a very flawed economic theory,” House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said in a news release. “It’s a theory that says you can give the wealthy more budget-busting tax cuts balanced on the backs of the middle-class and seniors, yet somehow deliver a stronger economy.”

Romney’s campaign joined the fight on Medicare, releasing a new television ad criticizing Obama for taking $700 billion out of the Medicare budget to pay for his health-insurance law.

“The message here is that we’re on offense on Medicare. This is a debate we invite,” said a Romney aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ryan’s budget also cut Medicare by a similar amount to pay for deficit reduction.

The new vice presidential candidate promised to run a vigorous campaign.

“We are not going to duck the big issues, we’re going to lead,” Ryan said.

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