One week before Election Day 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked Americans, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” After four years of economic woes, high gas praises, and the overall ineptitude of the Jimmy Carter administration, the answer was a resounding, “No.” Carter was routed in one of the biggest landslides in presidential election history. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan hope voters will have the same response to the Obama administration.
Speaking from a podium adorned with an “Are You Better Off?” placard, GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan addressed a packed house at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday. It’s clear the Republican ticket wants to drive home the fact that in many ways, America is worse off now than it was when Barack Obama became president.
“This is not working. Obamanomics is not working,” Ryan told the crowd of 400. “More bankruptcies, more delinquent mortgages, higher unemployment. When it comes to jobs, President Obama makes the Jimmy Carter years look like the good ol’ days.”
Ryan says Obama cannot honestly say that Americans are better off. Even the president’s surrogates are stumbling over the issue. Sunday morning on CBS, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said the country is not better off than it was four years ago. He flip-flopped on that statement just 24 hours later.
O’Malley was a featured speaker on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention. Paul Ryan says O’Malley got it right the first time, that the Obama administration is a big part of the problem.
“To be charitable, he came into office with a very difficult situation. Here’s the problem: He made things worse,” Ryan said. “He’s run out of ideas and he cannot run on his record. That’s why he has relegated his campaign to a campaign based on the politics of envy and division. Smear and fear.”
Shortly before Ryan’s late-afternoon stop in Cedar Rapids, the U.S. debt clock surpassed the $16 trillion mark. Every American is strapped with more than $50,000 of federal debt.
“This is a serious threat to our economy,” Ryan said. “Of all the broken promises from President Obama, this is probably the worst one because this debt is threatening jobs today, it’s threatening prosperity today, and it is guaranteeing that our children and grandchildren get a diminished future.”
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad introduced Paul Ryan to the Cedar Rapids audience. The Wisconsin congressman heaped great praise on Branstad at the beginning of his speech. Ryan will speak at the Dallas County Courthouse in Adel Tuesday morning at 9am.
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