Paul Ryan Says Election Not Just Obama Referendum

Will Vragovic, The Tampa Bay Times/AP Photo

DOVER, N.H. - Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said that he and Mitt Romney owe the American people "an alternative to vote for" with specific ideas and solutions, rather than making the election only a referendum on President Obama's job performance.

Asked by a self-described independent why she shouldn't sit this election out, Ryan said voters "have to decide what kind of country do you want."

"We can change this. Yes, there are differences, and you have to get rid of Barack Obama if you want to fix these problems," Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, said. "This idea of consolidating power in Washington, this idea of taxing people, families and businesses more, of borrowing more money and regulating more and spending money on cronies, on people who are connected, this doesn't work. What works is liberty, what works is free enterprise, what works is sound economic policies."

"It comes down to a core philosophy, and the principles that we are using to apply to the problems of the day - to solve our problems, to get back on track - are the principles that are timeless, that built this country. Liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination, government by consent of the governed," he added. "The government works for us, not the other way around."

Ryan said he and Romney have proposals to stimulate economic growth and reform entitlements, not with the intent to harm the less fortunate, but to give everyone a shot at the American ideal.

"What Mitt Romney and I are talking about, what we're proposing, is a very simply idea: We've got to stop spending money we just don't have," he said. "The American system of limited government and free enterprise has done more to help the poor, has done more to uplift people out of lives of dependency and on to lives of self-sufficiency, has done more to create opportunity than any other economic system ever designed. We don't wanna replace that. We want to renew and revitalize that. That is the American idea of economic opportunity."

Even though the Romney-Ryan campaign appeared to stumble after some conservatives called for changes to the campaign and a string of candid videos of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser were released on the internet this week, Ryan did not stray far from his regular campaign stump speech. Instead, Ryan was focused on contrasting each campaign's economic policies.

"We can't keep doing this. This debt is getting out of our control," he said. "Politicians from both parties over many decades have made lots of empty promises to voters to get re-elected, putting it on the nation's credit card, consigned with giving it to the next generation, and if we don't get this under control pretty soon, these empty promises will quickly become broken promises."

Ryan began the day in Boston, where he stopped at campaign headquarters before heading to New Hampshire. A spokesman says he "just dropped in to say hello to headquarters staff and thank them for their hard work."

After taping a number of interviews with local television stations, Ryan will fly to Greensboro, N.C., for a rally with supporters Tuesday evening.

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