July 25, 2016

Mostly clear

GOP’s Paul Ryan in Westlake as Democrats convene in Charlotte

WESTLAKE — Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan said he and Mitt Romney will lower tax rates for small businesses and allow people to keep money “in their pockets.”

“Our rights come from nature and God and not from government,” he said Tuesday afternoon at the Westlake Recreation Center to cheers and chants from the audience.

Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaks Tuesday before a crowd in Westlake. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY BRUCE BISHOP)

“President Obama and too many politicians like him in Washington have been more concerned about their next election than they have about the next generation,” he said. “We’re not going to do that. We’re going to lead.”

Ryan was backed by Mayor Dennis Clough of Westlake and Mayor Jerry Hruby of Brecksville during the rally. With hundreds of people filling the center, Hruby criticized Vice President Joe Biden, saying that Ryan’s rally brought more people out than Biden’s visit Friday to Youngstown.

“Do you remember early on in the campaign where they kept saying the Republicans can’t draw a crowd? The Republicans can’t bring people together? Well let me ask you a question. I think (Biden) spoke to 250 people in Youngstown, primarily union people,” Hruby said. “If I start counting, would you all be patient, because I’d like to figure out the number here today.”

One of the many supporters included Nicole Miller of Lorain, who said she initially was on the fence about voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket.

“I didn’t vote for Obama the first time. I was feeling Romney and Ryan out,” she said.

Miller added that after attending Tuesday’s speech, she will vote for Romney. Ryan, she said, will bring new life into the campaign that she believes originally was geared toward older voters.

“I think he’s going to be bringing in a different set of voters,” she said. “Ryan, he’s younger, and I think he can reach out to the younger generation.”

Others spoke highly of Ryan’s experience as the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Gerald Thomas traveled from Mentor to see Ryan and said Ryan has the expertise to get the United States out of debt.

“I’ve done budgets for years, and I have so much confidence in Paul Ryan,” he said. “I have three grandsons, and I don’t want to see them in debt.”

Ryan promised to create and rebuild manufacturing jobs and restore energy resources through the support of the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline would transport oil from Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast. President Obama has not yet approved the project, saying that the environmental concerns need to be fully examined, but Ryan contends that the issue is another failure of Obama’s job-creation record.

Ryan said Obama’s record is worse than former President Jimmy Carter’s, citing higher unemployment rates and higher bankruptcy filings.

According to Ryan, in July 1980, unemployment was at 7.8 percent. During the last 42 months, he said, it’s been above 8 percent. Ryan also added that the total bankruptcy filings have increased since Carter’s time in office, from 331,000 in 1980 to 1.4 million last year.

“When it comes to jobs, President Obama makes the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days,” he said. “If we fired Carter then, why would we rehire Barack Obama now?”

After the speech, several political analysts criticized Ryan’s statements, saying that they are inaccurate.

According to an ABC News analysis, Ryan’s numbers are true, but they don’t portray the whole picture.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 1983, with Ronald Reagan as president, unemployment was at 9.4 percent, almost 1 percent higher than the current rate. In July 1982, it was higher — 9.8 percent.

Jessica Kershaw, press secretary of Obama for America, said sales numbers for Northeast Ohio auto plants near Westlake — the GM Stamping Plant in Parma, Ford Trucking Plant in Avon Lake and the Ford Engine Plant in Brook Park — show that Obama is on the right track.

Kershaw also criticized Romney’s opposition to a 2009 bailout of the auto industry.

“Strong sales for all three automakers announced today prove that our auto industry is coming roaring back in spite of Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, who would have let the auto industry wither on the vine along with the one in eight jobs in Ohio that it supports,” she wrote in a news release. “So the question remains for Paul Ryan in Westlake today, surrounded by communities that depend on the strength of the auto industry: How do you account for all of the Ohio jobs that Mitt Romney would have lost had we listened to his advice to let the American auto industry go bankrupt?”

Ryan, however, said Romney’s record shows that he is a shrewd businessman and can run the country better than Obama. According to Ryan, unemployment decreased and household income increased during Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

He added that Obama has broken several promises, including one that the unemployment rate would never increase above 8 percent following the implementation of his economic stimulus package.

“We can stick with the path that President Obama has placed us on,” he said. “It’s a nation of debt, a nation in decline, or we can put real reforms in place and get the American idea back on track and get America back on track.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at (440) 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.