Jae C. Hong / AP
House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday, May 22, 2012. Ryan, a potential pick to join Mitt Romney's presidential ticket, blamed President Barack Obama on Tuesday for anemic job growth and unchecked spending and debt that he said are pushing the nation toward decline.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), a potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, had harsh words for President Barack Obama Tuesday evening, but told the crowd the nation could get back on the right track with the 2012 election.
"We face not just a failed president, but a failed ideology. We face a pessimistic mood in the nation's capital. A belief that our best days are over and the only thing left to do is to manage the nation's decline,” Ryan told the nearly 1,000-person crowd at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. “But, we have the same opportunity today to reject this defeatist attitude and to embrace a positive reform agenda possible to kick start a new era of prosperity, an American renewal, a comeback.”
The House Budget Committee chairman, who focused the majority of his 30-minute address on Obama, said the president continues to want “to take us further in the wrong direction” and acknowledged the only way to make progress is “the removal of certain partisan roadblocks” -- like the president.
“Americans have always rejected those with nothing to offer but cynicism and the politics of division. And right now, that’s all they are getting from the president,” Ryan said, noting the president has become “just another Washington politician.”
Romney, who Ryan threw his support behind before the primary in his home state of Wisconsin, is the man who can best change the trajectory of America according to the Congressman.
“What I see in Mitt Romney are the kind of tools, the kind of skills, the kind of character and attributes you need in a leader. He makes decisions. He doesn’t pander. And so what I see is a person who understands the moment our country is facing and a person who is willing to do what it takes to get us out of the path we are on and back on a path to prosperity,” Ryan said. “I really believe he is the right guy for the times and I think he is going to beat Barack Obama and I think we are going to save this country.”
Former first lady Nancy Reagan, 90, who invited Ryan to speak at the library was scheduled to attend but it was announced at start of event she is at home on doctor's orders recovering from broken bones she suffered in a fall a few weeks back.
This high profile speech in California will only continue speculation that the seven term congressman may be selected to serve as Romney’s No. 2. Both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Senator Marco Rubio – two additional names on the potential VP list – have spoken at the venue. Asked about accepting the position if approached by the presumptive nominee, Ryan did not completely shut down the idea as other Republicans in question have recently.
“That’s somebody else’s decision months away and that’s a conversation I need to have with my wife before I have it all with you,” Ryan said to loud applause, but added, “I like what I am doing. Don’t underestimate how important Congress is.”
The Congressman did say he was optimistic Republicans would retain control of the House and gain control of the Senate but cautioned, “you can’t take anything for granted.”