With polls headed in the wrong direction and a torrent of conservative criticism continuing to mount, Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan on Sunday admitted that the GOP ticket has made mistakes over the past few weeks, but he remains confident that presidential nominee Mitt Romney and he will triumph in November.
“We’ve had some missteps. But at the end of the day, the choice is really clear. We have pro-growth solutions … you’ve got the president basically offering four more years like the last four, of stagnation and dependency,” Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Here and there, we have not been able to frame that choice as clearly [as we have wanted]. I really believe that by the end of this day, people are going to understand what they’ve got and the choices that they have,” he said.
Chief among those missteps, he said, was Mr. Romney’s now-infamous “47 percent” comment, in which he said nearly half of all Americans are dependent on government and consider themselves victims. Mr. Ryan called those words “inarticulate” but stressed that the GOP campaign does believe that President Obama is fostering a climate of reliance on the federal government.
But criticism from the right has gone beyond just those comments. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a hero among conservatives for his willingness to take on powerful organized labor groups, recently said Mr. Ryan has lost some of his passion since joining the Romney ticket. Others have speculated that Mr. Romney has turned Mr. Ryan into a more cautious candidate, one afraid to be blunt about the tough fiscal choices facing the nation.
Mr. Ryan flatly dismissed those concerns.
“Mitt Romney has never once asked me to temper anything down. He’s said, ‘Go out there and sell this’ plan,” he said.
Another reason the Republicans continue to trail in the polls, despite high unemployment, weak economic growth and the Obama administration’s poor record on job creation, Mr. Ryan said, is that many voters simply haven’t tuned in yet.
“People focus near the end” of a campaign, he said. “We are going to prosecute this campaign in the way we always planned. We’re going to give this country a very clear choice.”
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Ben Wolfgang is a national reporter for The Washington Times. Before coming to the Times, he spent four years as a political reporter in Pennsylvania. His focus is on education and science policy. Ben lives in southeast D.C. and has played guitar in several bands while still in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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