By JAMES LUPIA
While University of Mary Washington students were enjoying their final day of fall break, Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate spoke to nearly 3,000 supporters at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.
The event, labeled a “victory rally” by the Romney-Ryan campaign, took place on Oct. 16, and featured several Republican speakers, including State Senator Bryce Reeves and Representative Rob Wittman.
Ryan spoke only hours before the second presidential debate took place, touching on subjects such as the deficit, the economy and the importance of the upcoming election.
Ryan spent most of his speech on the offensive, attacking President Barack Obama’s landmark health care bill and his handling of the economy.
“The Obama economic agenda failed because he got it passed,” Ryan said. “We need the government to work for us and not the other way around.”
Ryan acknowledged that it is not enough to criticize the president, it is also important to offer “real ideas” on how to solve the country’s problems.
Ryan said he would focus on issues such as jobs, reducing the deficit, increasing trade and manufacturing and stopping tax increases, along with cuts to the defense budget.
“Mitt Romney and I will run at these problems and we will solve these problems,” said Ryan.
Drawing distinctions between the president’s economic plan and the Romney-Ryan plan, Ryan evoked “Joe the Plumber” to remind the audience of Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment from his 2008 campaign.
Ryan also referenced Obama’s “you didn’t build that” statement, and said, “it just shows how out of touch he is.”
“We the people are not the problem. President Obama and his failed policies are the problem,” said Ryan. “If we get him out of the way we can create jobs.”
Speaking against rigid class distinctions, Ryan spoke of opportunity, “upward mobility” and “self-determination” as decisive factors in allowing Americans to improve their socio-economic status.
Making the argument that Gov. Mitt Romney should be elected President, Ryan said the upcoming election was a “clear choice” because Romney is a “decisive leader,” and cited Romney’s Olympics experience and his business success as examples.
“This is our moment,” Ryan said. “Virginians can make it happen.”
Senior Hillary Lyons attended the Ryan speech.
“It’ll raise more awareness for the general population… [and] get people excited and actually vote this election,” said Lyons.