GREELEY, Colo. — Today both GOP contenders were mocking President Obama’s suggestion, made in an MSNBC interview earlier in the week, to create a “Secretary of Business.” In the battleground state of Colorado, Ryan told a crowd of 1,000 assembled in the parking lot of an events center that the president “can’t run on the broken promises,” but that “he did come up with a new idea the other day.”
“He wants to create a new ‘secretary of business,’” Ryan said. “We already have a secretary of business. It’s actually called secretary of commerce. That’s what this agency does. Let me ask you a question: Can anybody name our current secretary of commerce? You know why? We don’t have one! It’s been vacant for over four months … we don’t need another bureaucrat or another bureaucracy, we need another president.”
The position of secretary of commerce is actually filled by Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank, who replaced former Commerce Secretary John Bryson after he suffered a seizure that caused a car accident in Los Angeles in June, he then resigned.
In Roanoke, Va., earlier today Romney went after the president, saying, ”I don’t think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street.”
“We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business, we need a president who understands business and I do!” Romney said.
Romney and Ryan’s comments today echoed a new television ad released by the campaign this morning titled “Secretary of Business” which claims their opponent’s “solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.”
“A handful of states are going to choose this,” Ryan said, speaking after those gathered heard a concert from country star Lee Greenwood. “The way I look at it is this. Somewhere out there on that horizon, and this is the state with the most beautiful horizon of them all, somewhere on that horizon is that dream that you have for yourself, for your kids, for your grandkids. We call it the American dream or the American idea.”
But “it’s a little more distant because of the wrong leadership, because of the wrong policies,” he added. “But it is not gone. We can get it.”
Barack Obama won this state in 2008 with 54 percent to 45 percent over John McCain, but now polls in this state, which has an electoral bounty of nine votes, could not be tighter with the candidates within the margin of error in most polls. It’s so tight in fact that the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from Oct. 24, the last ABC News rated airworthy poll, had both Romney and Obama with 48 percent support.
The GOP vice presidential nominee did not mention early voting at his rally at the Island Grove Event Center today, but according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office over 1.15 million votes have been cast already in this state, about 47.5% of the total vote cast in 2008. Republicans boast a slightly higher number- 439,269 to Democrats 404,870. An additional 295,122 voters registered as “unaffiliated” have also cast ballots.
Ryan heads to Nevada next with stops in Reno and Las Vegas.
ABC News’ Elizabeth Hartfield and Emily Friedman contributed to this report.
This post has been updated.