- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan pleaded with college students to look beyond the personalities in this year’s presidential election and instead vote based on ideas, saying Wednesday that the GOP can win that battle.

Holding a town hall with students at Georgetown University, Mr. Ryan urged Millennials to pressure leaders to start tackling the debt so it’s not left for their their generation, and said it should be the driving issue for young voters.

And he said the tone of the political fight has grown worse than he’s seen during 18 years in Congress.

“I have never seen the well poisoned as much as it is these days. I have not seen the kind of vitriol and the kind of bitterness in our politics like we are today,” he said.

He repeatedly found himself explaining the GOP’s contentious primary and the effect of front-runner Donald Trump, and he said the solution to that is not to fight over personalities nor to divide voters by “identity politics,” but rather to settle on ideas and fight for them.

He said that’s not happening in the middle of either party’s primary.

“Gas is being thrown on the fire,” he said.

Mr. Ryan is leading an effort by House Republicans to write a broad election manifesto proposing solutions to the big issues facing the U.S., such as health care and a still-sluggish economy. He said they’ve been working on that since well before Mr. Trump emerged as the front-runner, so it’s not a response to him, but it will be a document GOP candidates can point to as they head into the November election.

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