(Photo: REUTERS/Joe Skipper)
Rep. Paul Ryan accepted his party's vice presidential nomination amid a series of standing ovations Wednesday as he lambasted President Barack Obama and pledged that he and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney will make tough decisions to give America a "turnaround."
Drawing repeated roars from delegates during a primetime keynote address to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Ryan blasted Obama for "shifting blame" and "throwing away money."
"Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation's economic problems," Reuters quoted the Wisconsin congressman as telling the crowd. "We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others; we will take responsibility," he said.
"So here's the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?"
Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, proposed an alternative economic strategy to that of the Obama administration that would create millions of new jobs over the next four years.
Countering criticism from Democrats that the GOP budget plans would harm the middle class in order to provide new tax cuts, Ryan mentioned his mother's own struggles as his source of commitment to the middle class. He wiped tears as he paid tribute to her.
"Behind every small business, there's a story worth knowing," he said. "A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place."
Ryan defended his Medicare overhaul, which involves transforming the entitlement system into a voucher system. "In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the left isn't going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it," he asserted. "Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate."
Prior to Ryan's speech at the convention, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Ryan's Democratic counterpart on the budget committee, criticized the Romney-Ryan budget on Wednesday. "The fundamental choice they make with the Romney-Ryan budget is another round of windfall tax cuts for the very wealthy -- for people like Mitt Romney -- at the expense of everything and everyone else," he told reporters.
Ryan also spoke about the nation's youth. "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life," he said. "Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you're feeling left out or passed by: you have not failed, your leaders have failed you."
The seven-term congressman pledged that he and Romney will never seek to replace the nation's founding principles but "reapply" them. "The work ahead will be hard," he said. "These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this."
While the Republican convention was initially hindered by the threat of Hurricane Isaac, which forced the event planners to delay the start of activities by one day, it appears to have renewed enthusiasm among GOP supporters. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll released Wednesday showed Romney deadlocked with Obama among likely voters at 43 percent each.