On the eve of the first presidential debate, supporters of the GOP ticket want Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan to get more aggressive with their Democrat counterparts. That was the word from some of the attendees at Ryan’s lunch hour stop at a coffee shop in Muscatine.
“I was very impressed with him,” said Al Kroeger, who lives just north of Muscatine. “He’s very articulate, talks well. He has the facts right when he says it’s extremely important for our kids future to fix the debt. I’d like to see them be a little more aggressive. The campaign is kind of passive it seems to me. They’re not as hard on Obama as they need to be.”
The Muscatine visit was the third of four stops along the Mississippi River for the vice-presidential candidate this week. The venue, Elly’s Tea and Coffee shop, was not large enough to accommodate the overflow crowd. Only around 120 people were allowed in the area where Ryan was speaking. Another couple hundred formed a long line around the block outside and were able to listen via loudspeakers.
Ryan’s speech was brief. He usually talks for 20-25 minutes. This stop featured just a 12-minute talk. The Wisconsin congressman hit on the usual notes of his stump speech, criticizing President Obama’s performance over the last four years and providing a broad outline of what Mitt Romney would do.
“Our choice is essentially this: You want pro-growth economic solutions that grow the economy and produce opportunity, or do we want stagnation that fosters dependency,” Ryan said. “Stagnation or growth, dependency or opportunity and upward mobility. Those are the basic choices we have in front of us and if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to have more of the same.”
Ryan added that more of the same included “borrowing and spending and taxing and money printing” that will soon cause the U.S. economic woes like Greece has experienced recently.
Unfortunately for the GOP ticket, Mitt Romney is still struggling to connect with voters. Despite a monumental effort at the RNC convention to soften Romney’s identity, the former Massachusetts governor still lags behind President Obama on the key point. Paul Ryan provide a personal testimonial about Romney’s convictions during the Muscatine stop.
“There’s a historian who I’m a big fan of who says there’s a common characteristic of statesmen, of leaders who step up and serve their country,” Ryan said. “A person with a bedrock of principles, a person with a moral compass, a person with a vision for the country and a proven ability to execute that vision. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s Mitt Romney. That’s exactly the kind of man we need at this moment.”
Most of those in attendance liked what Ryan had to say, but they would like the campaign to step up its game.
“I think he said it all, all the high points and unfortunately the low points about our economy and what’s been happening,” said Muscatine resident Mary Beveridge. “I just hope more people will listen and read. From what I’ve seen, I think we need more visibility with barn signs, yard signs, buttons, whatever. Unfortunately, Muscatine hasn’t had much of anything.”
Therein lies another problem for the Romney campaign that was finally rectified later in the day. There was a delay in getting Romney/Ryan yard and barn signs to supporters and people were getting anxious. Some barn signs arrived in Muscatine and other Republican offices around Iowa Tuesday afternoon. With just over one month left in the campaign, time is running out to boost the candidates’ name ID and likability factor with undecided voters like Charles Gaeta, who attended Tuesday’s event.
“I like it what he said. He’s gonna do this and he’s gonna do that and it all sounds good,” Gaeta said. “I don’t really keep up with the campaign, other than the fact I see they’re both arguing a lot. I think they all say what they think people want to hear.”
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