(SPARKS, Nev.) — Traditionally the No. 2 on a presidential ticket is the attack dog, and Paul Ryan in recent days has been going after the president pretty hard. But Friday the GOP vice presidential candidate lodged his attack beginning with a compliment.
“You know the president gave a big speech last night, well just hear me out. President Obama is not a bad guy,” Ryan said over cheers of “yes he is” from the crowd. “No, President Obama is not a bad guy. He’s good at giving great speeches, he’s just really bad at creating jobs.”
Ryan then continued his attack: “Here’s the problem, when you think that the road to success and prosperity is more borrowing, more spending, more taxing, more regulating, a government-centered society with a government-run economy, these are the kinds of results we will get and if we want the next four years to be any different than the last four years, we need a new president.”
It’s a line of attack Mitt Romney has also been using because of the president’s favorability ratings. The message the GOP ticket wants to get across is that the president is nice, but not competent, and to stay away from some of the more personal attacks they are afraid may backfire with the personally popular president. Obama has higher favorability ratings than Romney, but in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week the president’s number is seven points lower from his recent peak in April. Just 47 percent of registered voters see Obama favorably overall, while 49 percent rate him unfavorably. Forty percent of registered voters see Romney favorably, while 47 percent view the GOP presidential nominee unfavorably.
“The president can give lots of speeches. He can say a lot of beautiful things. But he can’t tell you that we are better off,” Ryan said in the parking lot of a Peterbilt truck parts and equipment company.
With the backdrop of the rugged Nevada desert, Ryan also mentioned the tepid job numbers released Friday morning.The report, worse than expected, showed that the economy created 96,000 jobs in August, below economist expectations of 125,000. The unemployment rate was down 8.1 percent, but it showed nearly 400,000 people had stopped looking.
The House budget chairman called the report “disappointing news.”
“We learned today that for every person that got a job, nearly four people stopped looking for a job,” Ryan said to a crowd of about 1,400. “They gave up. We can’t keep doing this. Our economy needs to create just 150,000 jobs every month just to keep up with the growth of our population. Friends, this is not an economic recovery, this is nowhere close to an economic recovery.”
Ryan tailored his remarks to this battleground state, telling voters they have a “special responsibility” and that the rest of the country is “depending” on Nevadans.
Ryan also mentioned the home foreclosure crisis that has rocked Nevada, as well as the Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who hails from this state.
“The president gave us this big stimulus package right when he got elected,” Ryan said. “He said when we pass the stimulus, unemployment will never get above eight percent. We just learned today that it’s been over eight percent for over 43 months. In Nevada, its 12 percent. Look at the foreclosure rate. Look at the unemployment rate.”
He then hit the United State Senate for not passing a budget, name-checking the state’s senator.
“Hey, you guys heard of this guy named Reid in the Senate?” Ryan asked sarcastically to boos. “So I take it as a yes. They haven’t bothered to pass a budget in three years. They have a law that says every year, April 15 — April 15th is tax day for Americans, it’s budget day for Congress. They’ve ignored it for three years. Friends, this is not, this is not governing. This is kicking the can.”
From Nevada, Ryan heads to California to begin a few days of fundraising on the West coast.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Seth Olson, Deseret News
Eric Bradner, CNN
Laura Koran, Dan Merica and Tom LoBianco, CNN