Ryan emphasizes foreign policy at Toledo airport stopWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan talked to a crowd about his ticket’s plans for foreign policy, the economy and energy independence in the chilly Grand Aire hangar at Toledo Express Airport on Oct. 8.
“This is not an ordinary election. We’re not just deciding who’s going to be the next president for four more years. We are deciding the meaning of America. We are deciding what kind of people we are going to be and what kind of country we are going to have for an entire generation,” said the U.S. representative from Wisconsin.
“When President Obama came in four years ago, he inherited a tough situation, no two ways about that. Problem is, he didn’t make things better,” Ryan said.
Like his running mate Gov. Mitt Romney did in Virginia today, Ryan called for a change in foreign policy, specifically citing the recent killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans in Libya.
“If you go home after this and turn on your TV, you will likely see the failures of the Obama foreign policy unfolding before our eyes. If you look around the world, what we are witnessing is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy,” Ryan said.
“Four Americans were murdered in a terror attack in Benghazi. The point is, in a Romney administration, when we know we are clearly attacked by terrorists, we won’t be afraid to say what it is,” Ryan said.
“This was not simply an isolated incident but indicative of a broader failure. Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon. The Middle East is in turmoil. Nearly two dozen nations we witness on our television screen are burning our flags in protest and riots,” he continued. “If we project weakness abroad, our adversaries are that much more willing to test us, to question our resolve.”
Ryan also said Obama’s possible defense cuts would strain the National Guard and reserves even further.
Europe’s economy served a warning many times in Ryan’s speech.
“You see in Europe, they waited too long. They kicked the can down the road. They came up with excuses,” Ryan said. He added that youth employment in Europe is at 20 percent and 50 percent in Greece and Spain.
Ryan also said more than 50 percent of recent American college graduate aren’t working or can’t find jobs in their chosen fields.
Romney has the leadership skills for job creation, Ryan stressed.
“The president has no new ideas. He doesn’t know how to grow this economy. Mitt Romney knows how to grow the economy because Mitt Romney has the experience because he knows how to create jobs because he’s done it before,” said Ryan, later citing Romney’s experience as a businessman and overseeing the Salt Lake City Olympics.
The vice presidential nominee also focused on the importance of small businesses, tax rates and creating jobs through pursuing energy.
“You see when we lower tax rates across the board, by closing loopholes primarily for the well-to-do, all that we are saying is, it’s your money in the first place, you keep more of it,” Ryan said.
On the first day of a Romney/Ryan presidency, Ryan vowed to approve the Keystone Pipeline. This idea received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Ryan also said the ticket’s energy plan would make America energy independent by the end of the decade.
He added, “We will send less of our money to countries that don’t like us. That’s a good idea.”
Ryan also emphasized God and religious freedom and their ties to the United States in his speech.
“[America’s] the only country founded on an idea,” he said. “That idea is so precious, Thomas Jefferson wrote it in the Declaration of Independence … our rights come from nature and nature’s God, not from government.”
Ike Parker, a minister from Delta, said that part of the rally spoke to him.
“I don’t like the things that Obama approves of like abortion, gay marriage, pills for 14-year-old kids, girls who are in school,” he said.
Parker said he had been a lifelong Democrat before Obama.
“I just hope that people will wake up and come to their senses [to] the way this country is going and the way Obama has driven it down the road,” he said.
Eventgoer Rita Gilbert of West Toledo said this is the first rally she has ever attended.
“Actually this is hope and change we can really believe in,” she said.
Rita’s husband, Ron, who used to work for Marathon Oil, said he was interested in Romney’s and Ryan’s thoughts on energy and thinks the country should look into coal energy.
“We have enough coal in the State of Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana to produce energy for the whole United States for the next 200 years,” Ron said. “[The government’s] looking in the wrong direction, they really are. We could be totally energy independent.”
Head of the Lucas County Republican Party Jon Stainbrook, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta and State Reps. Barbara Sears and Randy Gardner spoke before the vice presidential nominee. Each drove home the need for Romney supporters to be vocal and go door to door.
Latta also praised Ryan’s financial know-how.
“There’s not one person in Washington or I don’t think in this country that understands the federal budget and what’s happening to this country better than the next vice president,” Latta said.
During the Ryan rally, the Obama for America campaign had its own event. Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz was at the airport Oct. 8 with a small group of Obama supporters and focused mostly on Obama’s auto industry rescue.
“We’re glad Paul Ryan came to Northwest Ohio, but we’re disappointed he does not support the auto rescue plan which saved our local economy and we’re disappointed he has embraced the policies of Mitt Romney, which, if they were implemented, would have sent certainly this region if not the country into a depression,” Kapszukiewicz said.
He added, “We are better off today than we were four years ago. Four years ago when the president took office, unemployment was well above 8 percent. Today it’s 7.8 percent, the lowest it’s been in over four years. In Lucas County, unemployment has gone from 8.5 percent to 7.6 percent. When Obama became president this economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month, every month. Now we’re gaining 150,000 jobs per month, every month.”
Ryan will debate Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.
-Managing Editor Sarah Ottney contributed to this report.