(TAMPA, Fla.) — At 42, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s star has risen so far so fast that his party’s signature economic policy bears his name.
Wednesday night, as he accepts the Republican nomination for vice president, Ryan will try to parlay that reputation into proving he is ready for the White House with promises to create 12 million new jobs, abolishing Obamacare and downsizing Medicare.
Ryan, whose archly conservative but earnest approach to policy reportedly endeared him to Mitt Romney, is expected to discuss his vision for mending the economy when he speaks Wednesday night in primetime from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Ryan will make an appeal to the middle class and for the first time pledge to create 3 million jobs a year during a Romney/Ryan administration, according to excerpts of his speech released by his campaign.
“We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years,” he will say.
The promise of jobs is one that other candidates have made. In 2008, Obama promised to “save or create” 2.5 million jobs. Instead, the economy and high unemployment rates have become the most vulnerable part of his administration.
Ryan will also target the president’s signature health care program.
“Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country. The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare,” Ryan is expected to say Wednesday night.
“The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems. And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this,” he will say.
Ryan also will make a reference to his age and appeal to younger voters.
“I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old — and I know that we are ready,” he will say.
That idea of “serious” and “smart” are at the core of Ryan’s brand. His youth, zeal and intelligence appealed not just to Romney but also the party faithful.
“Tonight, the American people — millions who may not know a lot about Paul Ryan other than the headlines that they’ve read — are going to get to know Paul Ryan the way many of us know him; as a serious policy thinker,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Rubio called Ryan someone who “brings a unique life experience and a unique perspective on some of the issues that we face because of his age, because of our generation but, at the same time, someone who is as deep and serious a thinker about our issues as ever before.”
Conservative Republicans who were lackluster in their support of Romney have embraced his running mate. Crowd size at events with Ryan in tow has dwarfed those at which Romney appears alone.
“He has an amazing ability to energize a crowd, while presenting the important facts so that people can reach a common sense conclusion about the changes needed in this country,” Republican strategist Alice Stewart told ABC News.
Democrats are perhaps equally as excited as Republicans that Ryan’s plans for the budget and Medicare are now in the spotlight.
The Democratic National Committee bought a full-page ad in the Tampa Tribune accusing Ryan of trying to “end Medicare as we know it” by arguing Ryan’s proposed voucher program will put the risks of that program on the backs of beneficiaries.
Ryan wrote Wednesday night’s speech with help from some of the GOP’S best speechwriters. Matthew Scully, who wrote Sarah Palin’s convention speech and was also George W. Bush’s speechwriter, and John McConnell, Dick Cheney’s speechwriter, contributed to the address.
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Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN
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