ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and John Parkinson report:
DANVILLE, Va. — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan sought to change the subject today from leaked videos to painting President Obama as someone who wants to spread wealth from rich Americans to poor ones.
“Mitt Romney and I are not running to redistribute the wealth. Mitt Romney and I are running to help Americans create wealth,” Ryan said. “Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency are what have made this economy the envy of the world.”
Ryan is referring to a video of then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama speaking at Loyola University in 1998 when the future president said, “I actually believe in redistribution at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.” The 14 year old video was posted Tuesday on the Drudge Report.
It’s something Mitt Romney, campaign operatives and surrogates have also been trying to draw attention to in order to shift focus from a series of damaging videos released over the last two days that show Romney at a $50,000 per person Boca Raton fundraiser chastising the president’s supporters as people who see themselves as “victims,” are dependent on government and pay no income taxes.
Ryan continued the theme of “redistribution” at his rally here today saying the GOP ticket doesn’t “resent other people’s success.” The videos were released by liberal-leaning Mother Jones magazine.
“We take pride in one another’s success,” Ryan said after a tour of an industrial machining plant. “Our job is not to fight over a shrinking pie in redistributed slices. Our job as leaders is to grow the pie so that everybody has a better shot at the American dream, and everybody can pick themselves up.”
The vice presidential nominee may have wanted to stay out of the headlines surrounding Romney’s controversial videos, but he was asked about them in several local interviews.
When asked by NBC News’ Reno affiliate KNRV, Ryan described the way Romney made the comments as “obviously inarticulate in making this point.”
To ABC News’ Manchester, N.H. affiliate WMUR he described it similarly saying “it was an inelegant way of describing the point we’re trying to make which is we need economic growth, we need job creation.”
Ryan will spend the rest of Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, DC. He will spend at least part of the day Wednesday in debate prep ahead of his face off with Joe Biden on Oct. 11at the vice presidential debate hosted by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.