(WEST LAKE, Ohio) — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan took the GOP campaign to the key state of Ohio Tuesday, and on a day Democrats plans to air a video tribute to Jimmy Carter, Ryan used Carter to mock the Democrats. Polls show that the Republican ticket is trailing in Ohio, and most analysts believe that winning the state is virtually essential to a Republican victory in November.
“Ohio is the epicenter. Ohioans, you have a tremendous responsibility,” Ryan told a crowd of almost 1,900 people in a recreation center in West Lake.
With Mitt Romney absent from the stump, Ryan carried the Republican attack as the Democrats gathered in Charlotte to open their convention. Part of Tuesday night’s events includes the tribute to Carter, who has become a favorite target of Ryan over the weekend.
“They fired Carter and they hired Reagan. We’re going to do the same thing,” Ryan said, repeating what has become part of his stump speech.
Republicans have been reprising Ronald Reagan’s classic line against Carter in the 1980 election, asking essentially whether voters are better off than four years ago.
“If we fired Jimmy Carter then why would we re-hire Barack Obama now?” Ryan asked Tuesday. “President Obama can tell you a lot, and he’s good at doing that, but he cannot tell you that you’re better off. After four years of getting the runaround what America needs is a turnaround, and the man for that job is Mitt Romney.”
The vice presidential candidate also blasted Obama for waging a campaign “based upon the politics of envy and division.” Ryan said Obama’s record is “worse” than Carter’s and repeated the same unemployment and delinquent statistics as he did in Greenville, N.C., on Monday, but he corrected his bankruptcy numbers.
“In 1980, 331,000 total bankruptcies. Last year, 1.4 million,” he said.
In Greenville on Monday, Ryan conflated personal and business numbers, describing them as just “business bankruptcies.” Tuesday he clarified, saying, “in 1980, total bankruptcy filings — that is personal and business bankruptcies,” making clear he was talking about all bankruptcies.
Ryan, who is from Wisconsin, gave some regional praise to his Ohio audience, complimenting them for their large walleye fish.
“We fish out of similar boats in the Great Lakes for great walleye. You got bigger walleye here in Lake Erie than we do up in Lake Michigan, I’ll tell you that. I wouldn’t say yours is better tasting, but walleye is the best freshwater fish to eat bar none, I’ll give you that,” Ryan said.
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