DENVER—Displaying the tough no-nonsense talk and firm commitment to conservative principles that led to his selection as the Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has taken to the campaign trail and begun viciously attacking the record of running mate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Within hours of joining the GOP ticket Saturday, Ryan went on the offensive against the GOP candidate, and he has continued to cast him as a “pro-abortion crusader” and “shameless political chameleon” in stump speeches throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Colorado. At town hall meetings and fundraising events, Ryan has repeatedly referred to Romney’s governorship as “disastrous,” even going so far as to warn voters that the Republican candidate was an unreliable and dangerous choice for president.
“Mitt Romney doesn’t want you to know the disturbing truth about his record as governor,” Ryan said at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, immediately displaying the sort of passionate conservatism that led to his selection by the Romney campaign. "But the facts are clear. Gov. Romney embraced the legalization of same-sex marriage, he imposed anti-business carbon-emission limits, and he championed efforts to limit Second Amendment rights. This isn’t the record of strong family values and small government ideals that our country needs to get back on the road to prosperity—this is a record of ruin.”
Ryan also carried out his hard-hitting assault on the presumptive GOP nominee on numerous Sunday morning talk shows, leveling sharply worded broadsides against the individual health insurance mandate included in the governor’s so-called Romneycare plan, which he blasted as “un-American” and claimed was “indisputably” the blueprint for Obamacare.
Romney campaign staffers have expressed strong praise for Ryan’s bold, direct rhetoric, noting that the Wisconsin congressman’s determination and willingness to assail left-leaning policies head-on was precisely the reason they tapped him for the VP spot.
“Paul is tenacious about the issues, and so far, true to form, he has gone after Romney like a bulldog,” said Romney deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage, describing how Ryan immediately begins tearing into Romney’s record as soon as he steps off the Romney campaign bus. “This is exactly what we brought him on to do: give a blunt, hard-nosed assessment of the facts and, if he sees hypocrisy or liberal waste, immediately shoot it down. He doesn’t let anyone off the hook.”
She added, “We’re just glad he’s in our corner.”
According to pundits, crowds at campaign events have so far been very responsive to Ryan’s message, and voters appear drawn to the Wisconsin representative’s tough language and sharp challenges to Romney to “stand up and prove his conservative principles once and for all.”
Early polls indicate Ryan’s strong language and vocal stance against Romney may already be winning over swing voters.
“I really like what I’m hearing out of Congressman Ryan,” said undecided voter Peter Garland of High Point, NC, adding that the vice presidential candidate’s impassioned attack on Romney’s previous policy positions would “definitely” help him make up his mind. “He really opened up my eyes about how Romney refused to sign an anti-tax pledge in 2002 and how the average tax burden actually increased in Massachusetts during his tenure. I have to say, I appreciate how Ryan calls it as he sees it, and that will certainly play a big role in my decision come November.”
By Tuesday, Ryan had broadened his attacks to Romney’s character, noting that the former governor had thousands of documents from his tenure destroyed upon leaving office in 2007. According to a stone-faced Ryan, such “secretive, deceitful tactics” should leave voters with serious questions about Romney’s fitness to lead the nation.
“The bottom line is that there remain considerable doubts, not only about Gov. Romney’s disturbingly liberal past, but also about his character and commitment to open, honest government,” Ryan said of the man whose name flanks his own on countless lawn placards and bumper stickers. “My question to you is this: What is Mitt Romney hiding?”
“Can we even trust this man?” the congressman added. “If you’re a conservative values voter like me, then I’d have serious doubts.”