Paul Ryan will say he’s ready to “accept the calling of my generation” to provide a better future for all Americans, promising that he and Mitt Romney “are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.”
“After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney,” Ryan will tell delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa tonight, according to excerpts released early by the party’s presidential campaign.
Ryan, a Wisconsin congressmen picked by Romney to join him on the Republican presidential ticket earlier this month, will caution that time is running out to turn around the nation’s economy.
“I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time,” Ryan will say. “But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.”
He also will say that he and Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, “have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.”
Ryan, 42, in his speech as the vice presidential nominee faces the task of not alienating independent voters who may be alarmed by his government-shrinking, budget-cutting ideas and proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
He seeks to ease those worries, vowing to provide “opportunity for the young and security for the old,” according to the excerpts.
He slams President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care law, calling it “more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.”
He reiterates Romney’s pledge to repeal the measure, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in June.
“We will not duck the tough issues -- we will lead,” Ryan will say. “ We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.”
Romney, 65, courted veterans today in Indianapolis at the annual conference of the American Legion. He told the gathering that Obama’s “greatest failure” is not delivering on jobs for those returning from service. He also said he would make “a personal priority” to overhaul the Veterans Administration to make it more efficient.
Ryan, who arrived in Tampa last night, spent much of today in his hotel room near the convention center preparing his address. Michael Steel, a spokesman, said the Wisconsin congressman was “spending the day with his family, and getting ready for his speech tonight.”
Romney appeared on the convention podium last night after his wife, Ann, lauded him in a speech as a man who will “lift up America.”
In Indianapolis, Romney promised to offer in-state tuition at any school across the country for veterans, ease the credentialing process for them to work as mechanics and in other fields, and improve their health care. He vowed to halt spending reductions for defense programs that are part of $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board cuts over a decade due to start in January under a debt deal reached last year.
“I will make reductions in other areas and install pro-growth policies to make sure that our country remains safe and secure,” he said.
The speech was an effort to link national security and veteran affairs with the core economic themes of Romney’s campaign.
Romney returned to Tampa after his remarks to spend the evening in his hotel suite with his family watching convention speeches. Aides said his plans could change and he may decide to make an appearance on the convention floor.
Romney has been preparing his Republican convention speech for months by reading past addresses, talking to advisers and jotting down possible themes as he’s campaigned across the country.
Arizona Senator John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, and Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state for President George W. Bush, are among the headline speakers preceding Ryan tonight, turning the focus of the gathering to foreign policy.
Democrats were busy highlighting Ryan’s calls for deep cuts to programs such as Medicare.
Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee that Ryan heads, said the Republican attacks on the Medicare cuts in Obama’s 2010 health-care law are “a calculated, cynical effort to confuse seniors” and “hide from seniors just how bad the Romney-Ryan plan would be.”
Joining Van Hollen at a Tampa news conference today, Stephanie Cutter, a deputy manager of Obama’s re-election campaign, said Republicans are “trying to muddy the waters” on Medicare because “they know how vulnerable they are on their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.”
House Republicans twice have approved legislation sponsored by Ryan to convert Medicare to a voucher program. The plan would rely on competition among private insurers to hold down health-care costs. The measure would cut government spending by more than $5 trillion, reduce taxes for high earners and balance the budget in 2040.
Ryan’s original plan did away with the traditional Medicare program entirely; he later agreed to continue a public option, albeit with limits on how much the government would spend. The current Medicare system would remain for everyone now participating, and everyone at least 55 years old now would receive the traditional fee-for-service program with no caps on expenditures when they turn 65.