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Paul Ryan addresses economy, national debt in Cedar Rapids

BY CASSIDY RILEY | SEPTEMBER 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Tuesday accused President Obama of “kicking the can down the road,” leading to the failure of the American economy.

Ryan addressed an enthusiastic crowd at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, discussing job creation, the national debt, as well as the economy.

The speech came on the heels of major announcement regarding the country’s debt.

“We just heard about an hour ago that our government eclipsed the $16 trillion mark in our national debt,” Ryan said. “This is a serious threat to our economy [and] of all the broken promises from President Obama, this is probably the worst one.”

The Wisconsin congressman made reference to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s five-point plan to create a stronger middle class by emphasizing increasing production and exportation of goods to other countries, reducing government spending, and reducing taxes for all Americans.

“We want to restore our right to rise in America,” Ryan said. “That is the American dream.”

But Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, issued a response this afternoon denouncing Ryan’s claims.

“Paul Ryan’s false attacks and attempts to mislead Iowa voters showed the two drastically different campaign approaches and the two fundamentally different economic visions in this election,” Harkin said in a press release. “At this week’s convention, President Obama will lay the foundation for an economy built to last.”

Harkin said the Romney/Ryan plan would cripple the economy even further with a $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans that would ultimately result in a raise in taxes for the middle class or a rise in the national debt.

The Obama campaign also responded to Ryan’s speech in a statement by contending Ryan is the last person who should be talking about the economy.

“He was a rubber stamp in Congress for the policies that turned surpluses into deficits, putting two wars on the credit card, voting for a prescription-drug benefit without paying for it, and fighting for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans when they weren’t asking for them,” Danny Kanner, an Obama campaign spokesman, said in a statement emailed to The Daily Iowan.

Elizabeth Purchia, the press secretary of Obama’s Iowa campaign, said the president has already done a lot to help the economy by ending the war in Iraq.

She admits the economy is not healed yet but that Obama has the better plan to fix it than Romney.
Obama has a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. He plans to extend middle-class tax cuts and eliminate loopholes for the wealthiest Americans, Purchia said.

“Obviously, there is a lot more work that needs to be done but we are headed in the right direction,” Purchia said. “[President Obama] understands the need to have a strong middle class.”

Still, Iowa GOP chairman A.J. Spiker said the president has failed the nation by allowing the debt to climb as high as it has under his administration.

“By allowing the national debt to pass $16 trillion after promising to cut the deficit in half, President Obama has failed not just the young people whose future he has mortgaged, but the entire nation,” Spiker said in a press release. “It’s past time for the new direction and new leadership that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will bring to the White House.”


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