- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan finished up a two-day campaign swing through the critical battleground state of Virginia on Wednesday by paying a thank-you visit to volunteers in Arlington as the GOP stepped up counterattacks on President Obama’s “government-centered” economic vision that Republicans say promotes dependency and the redistribution of wealth.

“This works — there is nothing better than person-to-person communication,” the Wisconsin congressman told approximately 40 people gathered at the Romney campaign’s state headquarters, drawing an “amen” from a woman in the crowd. “And what I’m really proud of you for doing is that the ‘Virginia Victory’ centers have met or exceeded all their voter contact calls and doors than any other state in the union.”

Those in attendance were “top performers” from the campaign’s Bristow, Leesburg, Sterling, Springfield, Fairfax and Arlington offices in campaign activities such as doors knocked on and phone calls made.

The intimate, personal setting followed a massive rally Mr. Ryan held in Newport News on Tuesday evening and another in Danville on Wednesday morning as the Old Dominion fast becomes a second home for the GOP vice presidential hopeful. At the Danville event, Mr. Ryan stepped up the campaign’s attacks over a recently unearthed 1998 audio clip of Mr. Obama, then an Illinois state senator, defending government action to redistribute wealth in an address at Loyola University while also arguing that those who defend the role of government also must work to make it streamlined and effective.

“I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution,” Mr. Obama said, “because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”

Mr. Ryan, however, told the Danville crowd that he and Mitt Romney “are not running to redistribute the wealth.”

Mitt Romney and I are running to help Americans create wealth,” he said. “Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency are what have made this economy the envy of the world.”

The stop in the struggling southside town came on the same day the Romney campaign released two new ads decrying Mr. Obama’s purported “war on coal” — an issue near and dear to the hearts of those in southwest Virginia.

Mr. Obama’s campaign countered Wednesday that the GOP “redistribution” charge was hypocritical.

Congressman Ryan talked a lot about redistribution today, which is exactly what he and Mitt Romney are proposing to do if elected,” said Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner. “While President Obama cut taxes for the typical middle-class family by $3,600 over his first term, the Romney-Ryan plan would actually raise taxes on the middle class by cutting deductions like those for mortgage interest and charitable contributions in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.”

Virginia, which went Democratic in 2008 for the first time since 1964, is at or near the top of the list of states both campaigns are targeting, and is one of only a handful considered still truly up for grabs.

A new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll released Wednesday showed Mr. Obama with a 4-point lead over Mr. Romney in Virginia, 50 percent to 46 percent. The 4-point margin was the same as a poll taken in August before the party conventions, when Mr. Obama held a 49 percent to 45 percent lead.

Women favor Mr. Obama by a 12-point margin, 54 percent to 42 percent, while men favor Mr. Romney by 6 percentage points, at 51 percent to 45 percent.

Notably, however, independents back Mr. Romney by an 11-point margin — 53 percent to 42 percent. The party identification breakdown in the sample of likely voters was 24 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 36 independent, and the poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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