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Wednesday
Oct242012

Rep. Paul Ryan Talks Upward Mobility: ‘In This War on Poverty, Poverty Is Winning’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(CLEVELAND) – Paul Ryan said Wednesday that the Republican presidential ticket will do more to help the poor in this country, declaring, “In this war on poverty, poverty is winning,” and calling for a shift from federal government programs helping the poor to a community-focused model.

He said the GOP ticket would set such a model into motion if it gets to the White House.

Ryan cited the amount of money the federal government spends on “means-tested programs,” saying it accounts to more than $1 trillion, or giving “every poor American a check for $22,000.”

“We spend all that money attempting to fight poverty through government programs. And what do we have to show for it?” Ryan asked, saying one in six Americans are living in poverty and citing high food stamp use and high school dropout rates.

“With a few exceptions, government’s approach has been to spend lots of money on centralized, bureaucratic, top-down, anti-poverty programs,” he said. “The mindset behind this approach is that a nation should measure compassion by the size of the federal government and how much it spends.”

Ryan added that the GOP ticket’s solution is a “balance,” or, “allowing government to act for the common good, while leaving private groups free to do the work that only they can do.”

“There’s a vast, middle ground between the government and the individual,” Ryan said at Cleveland State University. “Our families and our neighborhoods, the groups we join, our places of worship – this is where we live our lives. They shape our character, they give our lives direction and help make us a self-governing people.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee praised welfare reform under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but said the “reform mindset hasn’t been applied with equal vigor across the spectrum of our anti-poverty programs.”

“In most of these programs, especially in recent years, we’re still trying to measure compassion by how much government spends, not by how many people we help escape from poverty,” Ryan told a crowd of about 600 people.

Ryan’s plan was short on specifics, but he met with a group of community leaders in this battleground state before the address on the issues he would discuss, which also included school choice. In his speech, he promised a Romney-Ryan administration would consult those same people, saying they “share your cause and we will seek your counsel.”

“For our part, should we have the chance to serve, I want you to know this,” Ryan said. “We will remember your hospitality today, and it will be returned. The transformative power of your example will inform our approach to public policy. And when the question is how best to help low-income families reach for opportunity, we will not defer to the Washington-knows-best crowd. We will talk to the real experts – including many of the people who are right here in this room.”

He praised his running mate, presidential nominee Mitt Romney, throughout his speech, but said sometimes the Republican Party may have “a vision for making our communities stronger,” but they “don’t always do a good job of laying out that vision.” He said the presidential ticket wants to “change that.”

Standing in front of three American flags, Ryan said Romney is a “man who could easily have contented himself with giving donations to needy causes, but everyone who knows him well will tell you that Mitt has always given his time and attention to those around him who are hurting.”

Although it may seem unusual to give such an address less than two weeks before Election Day, four years ago Sarah Palin also gave a series of policy addresses in the final days, including one on support for families of special needs children.

An argument that the Republican world view will do more to help the American poor could represent an attempt by the Ryan and the Romney campaign to address the perception among voters that they lack empathy.

According to ABC News pollster Gary Langer, empathy can be a “significant independent predictor of voter preferences.”

President Obama leads Romney by seven points, 51 to 44 percent, on the question of “who better understands the economic problems people in this country are having,” according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday.

Ryan touched on similar issues in a speech to Georgetown University in April, when he discussed upward mobility for the poor.

Ryan’s address is also in the shadow of Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, when he said, in a leaked video from a $50,000-a-head fundraising dinner in Boca Raton, Fla., that 47 percent of people, who don’t pay income taxes, will never vote for him because they are “dependent” and “victims.”

Ryan has added to image problems concerning the ticket’s policies toward the poor. The campaign suffered a photo-op misstep when he was criticized for appearing to scrub clean pots at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio. Ryan was accused of reaching for a photo instead of actually wanting to help homeless people.

Ryan was introduced by Jimmy Kemp, the son of Ryan’s mentor, the late former Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., who was known as a “bleeding heart conservative,” a Republican working with those battling poverty. In the early 1990s, Kemp was the chairman of the Economic Empowerment Task Force, a Cabinet subgroup formed to develop antipoverty policy.

Ryan will head back to Ohio this weekend for an eight-stop bus tour all over the critical state. A poll out Wednesday from Time magazine had the president up by five percentage points in the Buckeye State – 49 to 44 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Obama, Biden Unite as Auto Champions in Ohio

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(DAYTON, Ohio) – With debate season in the rearview mirror, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden united Tuesday in western Ohio, casting themselves as the only true champions of the state’s resurgent auto industry in an effort to bolster their working-class vote.

The Democratic ticket triumphantly asserted that voters there understand better than any what the Obama-backed 2009 auto bailout meant for Ohio jobs. And they argued that no matter what Republican nominee Mitt Romney now says, his past opposition to the bailout is widely known.

“I hope I made clear that there’s a big difference between me and Mitt Romney. And it’s not just that he’s got better hair,” Obama joked about Monday night’s final presidential debate.

“Governor Romney looked you right in the eye, looked me in the eye, tried to pretend that he never said, 'Let Detroit go bankrupt.' Tried to pretend he meant the same thing I did when we intervened and worked to make sure that management and workers got together to save the U.S. auto industry, pretended like somehow I have taken his advice,” Obama said.

“The people don’t forget. The people of Dayton don’t forget. The people of Ohio don’t forget,” he said.

In 2008, Romney wrote an op-ed in the New York Times opposing a taxpayer-funded bailout of GM and Chrysler, calling instead for a “managed bankruptcy,” which ultimately occurred. The article’s title, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” was written by the paper, not Romney.

“Barack Obama’s attack has been deemed false by multiple independent fact checkers and is clearly designed to hide his failed record and lack of an agenda for a second term. Mitt Romney proposed the right course for the automakers, a structured bankruptcy process to allow them to keep jobs in Ohio and emerge as sustainable and profitable enterprises,” said Romney spokesman Chris Maloney.

Democrats contend the process could not have proceeded successfully without the backing of the federal government to assure investors.

“Without government support, those companies would have fallen,” said senior Obama advisor David Plouffe. “I think Gov. Romney was having one of his bouts of ‘Romnesia’ he has. If he was president of the U.S. the American auto industry would have been decimated.”

The auto industry supports one in eight Ohio jobs, according to the Labor Department.

Obama has visited Ohio 17 times this year -- more than any other state. Vice President Biden has swung through the state nine times, often focusing on the auto manufacturing theme.

Biden Tuesday accused Romney of trying to “rewrite history” on the auto industry rescue in claiming that a managed bankruptcy was his idea all along.

“Half the time, I didn’t know whether Governor Romney was there to debate Barack Obama or endorse Barack Obama,” he said mockingly. “You know, I mean, it was hard to tell! But I have a message for the good governor. Governor, you can’t run from the truth.”

Polls show the Obama-Biden ticket holds a slight lead over Romney-Ryan in the 2012 presidential race in Ohio, but the margin has tightened in recent weeks. No candidate for president since 1960 has won the presidency without winning Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct222012

Ohio Election Official Resigns over Stress from Upcoming Election

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAYTON, Ohio) -- Just how intense is the focus on Ohio two weeks before the presidential election? Apparently, it’s so intense that some Ohioans can no longer handle the stress, including a county election official.

The Dayton Daily News reported that Miami County election director Steve Quillen resigned from his post last Friday morning "due to the stress of the upcoming presidential election."

Miami County is considered to be safely Republican. In 2008, John McCain carried it with roughly 63 percent of the vote. George W. Bush carried it in 2004 with about 66 percent of the vote. Nevertheless, in the toss-up battleground that is Ohio, the pressure of Election Day reverberates throughout the Buckeye State.

Since Quillen was a Republican, according to Ohio law, the state Republican Party recommends his replacement, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Condoleezza Rice Joins Paul Ryan on the Campaign Trail

STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages(BEREA, Ohio) -- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined Paul Ryan on the campaign trail Wednesday, marking the first time she’s hit the trail for the Romney ticket since she fired up the crowd with a speech at the Republican National Convention in August.

“It doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going” was her message in this battleground state of Ohio, inferring that the president, whom she never mentioned by name, is not someone who’s offering the right direction for the country.

“As important as it is for us to pay our bills and not take on debt that we can’t afford, as important as it is to get people back to work, as important as it is to give people a sense of hope again, I want to make another argument to you,” Rice said, speaking to a crowd of over 1,000 at Baldwin Wallace University.

As secretary of state, Rice said, you get to travel and see what America “means to the world,” stressing a sense of equality is what makes the world admire the U.S.

“People here have never been trapped in their view of class as a prison,” Rice said to cheers. “We have never been envious of one another, and we have certainly never been envious of one another’s success. Instead, we’ve been a country of opportunity and hope,” Rice said. “That principle that it doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you’re going, has always meant that we have not been a people who were constantly aggrieved. ‘Why don’t I have?’ And we didn’t give way to aggrievement's [sic] twin brother, entitlement. ‘Why don’t they give me?’”

Rice said Americans know “we might not be able to control our circumstances, but we could control our response to our circumstances,” adding, “That’s what this election’s about.”

She acknowledged that “it’s been a rough decade or so.”

“9/11 changed our conception of physical security, the crisis of 2008 changed our conception of economic prosperity and security, and the last four years have been very tough on folks who just want to work hard and make a living,” Rice said. “So when Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say they’re going to put this country back to work, this is an urgent call, not one for which we can wait another four years.”

Rice also reprised a line from her convention speech when she related the message to her youth in segregated Alabama and said, “Americans have had a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.”

“And then a little girl grows up in Birmingham, Alabama,” Rice said to huge cheers. “She can’t go to a restaurant, a movie theatre, but her parents have her absolutely convinced she can be president of the United States, she becomes the secretary of state.”

When Ryan got to the stage, he hugged Rice, calling her the “embodiment of the American idea” and noted it was the second time he had followed her. The first was the GOP convention. “It’s a little intimidating, tough act to follow.”

Ryan praised his running mate’s performance in the second presidential debate, saying to cheers, “Didn’t Mitt Romney do a great job for us last night?”

The GOP vice presidential nominee also focused on women, possibly to court those who may have been turned off by his running mate’s “binders full of women” comment at Tuesday night’s face-off.

“We had a discussion about how women are faring in this economy last night,” Ryan said. “Five and a half million women are still struggling for work in this economy -- a half-million more are unemployed today than when President Obama was sworn in. Twenty-six million women are trapped in poverty today, that’s the highest rate in 17 years.”

The Obama campaign responded to Ryan’s remarks, saying he “was in a tough spot trying to spin Mitt Romney’s rattled, awkward, and dishonest debate performance.”

“Romney doesn’t have a plan to create jobs, reduce deficits, or strengthen the middle class -- all he’s offering is the same failed policies that nearly crashed our economy in the first place,” Obama campaign spokesperson Danny Kanner said in a statement.

After the rally, Rice and Ryan, as well as Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has been a constant on the Ohio campaign trail for the Romney ticket, visited the Cleveland Browns’ training facility. Rice is a big Browns fan and they got to watch the players train as well as chat with a few. Rice told the players she had even taken some foreign ministers to football games, saying how she would explain football to someone who doesn’t know the game: “It’s a game of taking territory. Just keep taking territory.”

The most recent polls in this crucial battleground still have the president ahead between four and six points, but both sides are aggressively campaigning on the ground and on the airwaves in the state. Ryan has another event in Columbus on Wednesday evening before traveling to Florida on Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct162012

Ohio Soup Kitchen Director Says Paul Ryan ‘Barged In’ for Photo Op

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The head of an Ohio soup kitchen where Paul Ryan stopped with his family over the weekend said on Monday that the Romney campaign barged its way in for a photo op.

Ryan, his wife Janna, and their children donned white aprons and washed dishes -- that appeared to be clean -- after a campaign stop Saturday in Canfield, Ohio.

Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society President Brian Antal told the Washington Post on Monday that if the Romney campaign had inquired through the proper channels, their request to have the Ryan family volunteer at the non-partisan charity center would have been denied.

“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal told the Post.  “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it.  They showed up there, and they did not have permission.”

A Ryan spokesperson said the campaign followed standard procedure for setting up the appearance.  The meal being served at the kitchen was already over by the time the candidate arrived around noon.

Ryan spoke to a woman and her children who volunteered that morning.

“We just wanted to come by and say thanks for doing what you do,” he said.  “This is what makes society go.  It makes it work.  Helping people.”

The candidate remarked that he, like the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, is Catholic.

In the vice presidential debate with ABC’s Martha Raddatz last Thursday, Ryan said his faith was a factor in everything he does.

“My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life,” Ryan said.

But Catholic leaders have in the past criticized Ryan for a budget plan that would mean cuts to services for the poor.  The Church remains divided on that front; at least one blogger for the National Catholic Register thinks, in that respect, the Bishops were wrong.

The Ryan campaign said the stop was meant to recognize the work of the volunteers at the kitchen.

“It was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of volunteerism and local charities,” Ryan spokesperson Michael Steel told ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct152012

Ryan Tells Ohio Voters They Have a ‘Responsibility’ to Talk to '08 Obama Voters

J.D. Pooley/Getty Image(CINCINNATI) -- Paul Ryan made a quick stop Monday in the crucial state of Ohio to remind supporters of their “responsibility” to talk to friends who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but now “just aren’t as impressed,” and get them to turn out for Mitt Romney.

“You know, you have a big say-so,” Ryan told the crowd of several hundred at a Cincinnati air field. “You know, you’re the battleground state of battleground states. You understand your responsibility, right? You understand your opportunity, right? That means you have within your control, your ability to go find those people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 … who heard the hope and the change and loved the promises, all these great speeches, but see that this is nothing but a failed agenda of broken promises, of hollow rhetoric.”

Ryan acknowledged the massive air war going on from both sides, but said that the debates have let him and Romney “cut through the clutter.” Romney and Obama face off again Tuesday night.

“People will see through it,” Ryan said. “Look, I know what your TV screens look like these days. These debates are giving us the ability to cut through the clutter and give people a very clear choice. That’s what we are offering. And the choice is really clear.”

Ohio is seen as crucial, because no Republican has ever gotten to the White House without winning the state. The most recent poll out of Ohio, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from last week, found President Obama with 51 percent support to Romney’s 45 percent.

As he did in Wisconsin Monday morning, Ryan urged the audience to “vote early so that on Election Day you can help get people to the polls, you can help make the phone calls, you can help give people rides.”

“This election is so important, we even need you to talk to your relatives to get them out. That’s so important,” Ryan joked.

The Obama campaign responded that the Romney campaign may be “offering new rhetoric,” but the underlying message is still the same.

“Congressman Ryan’s claim that Mitt Romney is offering actual solutions is totally disconnected from reality,” Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. “While Romney and Ryan are certainly offering new rhetoric in the campaign’s final weeks, they can’t hide their plan to bring back the same failed policies that punished middle class families and crashed our economy in the first place.”

After his brief remarks, the GOP vice presidential nominee served Montgomery Inn barbecue to supporters waiting in line, asking over and over, “Chicken or pork?”

In between barbecue, backers congratulated him on his debate performance, while others said they are “praying for you to win.” Ryan introduced himself as “Paul,” telling those with kind or supportive words, “That’s the nicest thing you could say to me.”

Ryan later headed to New York City Monday afternoon to hold a series of fundraisers, including addressing high-level donors from all over the country who are gathering in New York for a meeting on fundraising and strategy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct152012

Sen. Rob Portman: Romney ‘Probably’ Could Win Election Without Ohio

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking to ABC's Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper Sunday morning on This Week, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney could “probably” win the White House without a victory in the Buckeye State, a feat that no other Republican has accomplished.

“Look, you can probably win the presidency without Ohio, but I wouldn’t want to take the risk.  No Republican has.  And we’re doing great in Ohio,” Portman said.  “If you look at the average of all the polls, it’s about dead-even in Ohio right now.  And importantly, the momentum’s on our side.  It’s been terrific.”

Portman was responding to a recent poll Tapper asked him about that showed Romney trailing the president by six points in Ohio.

Tapper also asked Portman -- who is helping prep Romney by playing Obama in mock debates -- what voters should expect on Tuesday, during the second presidential debate.  He predicted that Obama would come out “swinging.”

“I think President Obama is gonna come out swinging.  I think he’s gonna have to compensate for a poor first debate, and I think that’ll be consistent with what they’ve been doing this whole campaign, Jake, which is running a highly negative ad campaign,” Portman said.  “They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars around the country, including a lot in Ohio, mischaracterizing Gov. Romney’s positions and misrepresenting him.  And I think you’ll see that again at the debate on Tuesday night.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct132012

Romney Campaign Riding "Growing Crescendo of Enthusiasm"

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images(LANCASTER, Ohio) -- Days after Paul Ryan and Joe Biden’s first and only vice presidential debate, the top of the GOP ticket praised his running mate and noted a “growing crescendo of enthusiasm” across key battleground states.

“I’ve had the fun of going back and forth across Ohio and this week I was also in Florida and Iowa, I was in North Carolina, in Virginia, and you know what, there is a growing crescendo of enthusiasm people recognize that this is not an ordinary campaign, this is a critical time for the country, there is more energy and passion, people are getting behind this campaign, we’re taking back this country,” Romney said, standing next to Paul Ryan as well as Ohio senator Rob Portman, who played Barack Obama in debate prep.

On a brisk fall Friday night in central Ohio, Romney praised Ryan’s debate performance saying, “There was one person on the stage with thoughtfulness, who was respectful, who was steady and poised,” inferring that the vice president was not.

“There is one person on that stage you’d want to be with if there were a crisis – it is this man right here,” Romney said in the town square in front of several thousand supporters. “And when the moderator asked how you’d get the economy going, one person on the stage just attacked. But this guy went through all the things he’d do to get this economy going.”

The two running mates were last together the day after Romney’s first debate in Fishersville, Va., last week.

The most recent poll out of Ohio has the president at 51 percent to Romney’s 45 percent, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct112012

Former Gov. Ted Strickland ‘Happy’ About President Obama’s Ohio Chances

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said he’s confident about President  Obama’s chances in the Buckeye State, despite polls that show a slight tightening in the race after Obama’s lackluster performance in the first presidential debate.

“The latest poll that I see has the president at 51 to 45 or 56 percent, and I’ll take that,” Strickland said during an ABC News/Yahoo News livestream show on Thursday. “Ohio’s a closely contested state. It will be a very close election, but any time the president is over 50 percent, I’m a happy guy.”

Strickland, an Obama surrogate, said that the Ohio economy is recovering thanks to Obama’s policies, which has helped boost the president in voters’ minds.

“The president and this administration I think has been really good for Ohio,” Strickland said. “We’re back on track and Ohioans understand that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Romney Says Ohio Ads Could Give Him High Blood Pressure

JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages(MOUNT VERNON, Ohio) -- Mitt Romney said the barrage of political advertisements on television in Ohio would give him high blood pressure if he had to watch them every day.

“This morning my wife was on Good Morning America,” Romney began, speaking to a crowd gathered for a town hall meeting with the candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “I got to watch her but between her segments, I also watched some of the ads, some of the ads on me.”

“It is a good thing I don’t do that very often because my blood pressure would be very high,” Romney joked. “I saw these things and I said, ‘I don’t believe that. That’s not me. I don’t believe that.’”

“And yet people here in Ohio are getting bombarded with things that simply aren’t true,” Romney said.

Romney’s correct about the number of ads on television. The two campaigns combined have spent more than $75.7 million in Ohio alone on political advertising, according to The National Journal.

Romney added that he thinks the debates are a “good opportunity to break through” the advertisements.

Romney and Obama will go head-to-head in another debate next week. The vice presidential debate is Thursday night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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