HEMPSTEAD, NY—Following the opening statements by President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney during tonight’s town-hall-style debate, the first question asked by an audience member somehow managed to come from Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
“Gov. Romney, let me start off by saying I have a lot of admiration for you and your family, and it’s a great honor to have this opportunity to speak with you,” said Ryan, who wore a flannel shirt tucked into jeans and was introduced by debate moderator Candy Crowley as “Paul, an undecided voter from Wisconsin.” “As a man of faith who hails from America’s heartland and is deeply devoted to his wife and three children, I am very concerned about the direction our country is headed in. Like many voters four years ago, I was skeptical of Barack Obama’s leadership skills, and as we all know, the American people are now paying a terrible price for having elected him president of the United States. This economy has left a lot of good folks out of work, and when our struggling families look at how every single policy enacted by the Obama administration has only made things worse, they can’t help but worry about what will happen if this man is given a second term. I must admit, Gov. Romney, I share their fears. I believe I speak for a lot of us voters who are still on the fence in this election when I say that in your last debate performance—which, by the way, was tremendous—you presented an admirable plan to rein in the deficit and bring back jobs to America. All of this pertains to my question, which I’ll get to in a moment, but first I want to quickly build on my earlier statement and note that I’m both a religious man and a family man, and it’s been a tremendous reassurance to hear you speak of your commitment to families and to the values that define who we are as Americans. I do want to wrap this up, but not before I tell you that my wife, my children, my mother, and all the people I know stand behind you. America stands behind you. God bless you, Gov. Romney, and God bless America. Now, given the savagery with which Barack Obama has worked to destroy everything we hold dear in this country, will you be able to reverse each of his failed policies in your first 100 days in office—or can you do it even faster than that?”
The vice presidential candidate then sat down and immediately raised his hand again for a “follow-up question.”