SIOUX CITY, Iowa–Paul Ryan hit the president at a short rally here, accusing him of becoming the “very kind of candidate he was then criticizing” four years ago.
“You see, the man we heard four years ago offering hope and change is the very kind of candidate he was then criticizing,” Ryan said on the deck of a restaurant, Bev’s on the River here. “He has become what he criticized. He’s not offering hope and change, he’s offering attack and blame and frustration.”
The Republican vice presidential candidate spoke to over 700 people on an unseasonably warm northwestern Iowa day, greeting patrons inside the restaurant before coming outside and praising the crowd for coming together during the floods last year.
He said the community “showed the rest of us in America, this is what Americans do when they come together to help one another.” He noted that Iowans have a “big responsibility” on Nov. 6.
Iowa is one of a handful of swing states that could be crucial in determining which candidate wins the electoral college vote. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll last week gave Obama a 51-43 lead in Iowa.
“This is the heart and soul of America, and you know what?” Ryan asked the crowd. “Right here in the Midwest, right here in Iowa, you have a big responsibility, you have a big obligation, you have a big opportunity because Iowans could be the ones who decide the direction of this country.”
The Wisconsin congressman did not mention the shooting in Brookfield, Wisc., today that left three women dead, but he issued a statement shortly after the shooting, writing that he and his wife Janna “were shocked and saddened by the news from Brookfield today.”
The shooting occurred about 25 miles from where seven people were killed at a Sikh Temple by a white supremacist in August.
“As our community continues to heal from August’s tragic violence, our thoughts and prayers are with today’s victims and their loved ones,” Ryan said in a statement.
The Sikh Temple shooting took place in his congressional district. Today’s shooting occurred in a neighboring district.
Ryan will be heading back to his home state around Halloween for a campaign tour that will also allow him to accompany his three young children trick or treating. Polls in Wisconsin still show the president leading, but Ryan’s selection has put the state in contention. No Republican has won Wisconsin in a presidential election since 1984.