CINCINNATI — Monday night’s controversial referee call on the football field that denied victory to his Green Bay Packers made its way onto today's political field as Republican vice presidential contender Paul Ryan found a way to use it against President Barack Obama.
“Did you watch that Packer game last night? I mean give me a break," he told a friendly crowd gathered on the floor of a Cincinnati steel manufacturing plant.
“It’s time to get the real refs," Mr. Ryan said. “And you know it reminds me of Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out.’’
Mr. Ryan and the top of the ticket are in the midst of a three-day bus tour to many of the urban areas of Ohio on the heels of first The Blade/Ohio Newspaper Association poll released over the weekend showed Mr. Obama leading in a state considered a must-win for Mr. Romney.
After speaking to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Mr. Romney was to fly to Vandalia near Dayton to join his running mate. On Wednesday, the tour will roll on into Westerville near Columbus, Bedford Heights near Cleveland, and finally a rally at SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama plans to rally Wednesday on the campuses of Bowling Green State University and Kent State University. Mr. Ryan will be back in Columbus on Saturday for a sportsmen’s event.
The Romney-Ryan bus rolled directly onto the floor of Byer Steel Group, a fourth generation, family-owned structural steel and scrap metal firm employing roughly 150 off I-75. To Mr. Ryan’s left was a digital national debt tally that passed $16 trillion mark during the Democratic National Convention earlier this month.
“Republicans and Democrats were a party to the mess in Washington, and that’s one of the reasons we have the debt we have today,’’ Mr. Ryan said. “In January 2009, when President Obama was sworn into office, your share of the national debt was $36,000. It was a function of both political parties making lots of empty promises to voters for decades to get votes. The problem is…when you have a debt crisis, those empty promises become broken promises….
“If we don’t tackle this problem soon, it’s going to tackle us,’’ he said.
In the town hall setting, Mr. Ryan took a question from a Hispanic immigrant woman, a Republican who wanted to know the ticket was going to make its case to the Hispanic community. Polls have shown that a huge share of the Hispanic vote in the nation is expected to go to Mr. Obama with Mr. Romney garnering even less than John McCain did four years ago.
His answer was jobs, noting Latinos have been badly hurt by the stagnant economy.
“What Mitt and I are offering is an agenda for prosperity for everybody to have a chance to climb the ladder and get out of poverty to get to self-sufficiency…,’’ Mr. Ryan said. “President Obama made all these grand promises when he ran in 2008, lots of promises, hope and change. It’s now, I would say, attack and blame.
“But among the promises he made was that he was going to fix the broken immigration system,’’ he said. “Remember, he came into office with total control of government…His party was in total control…But he didn’t try to fix the broken immigration system. That’s one of the biggest broken promises.’’
John Ball, of nearby Lebanon, runs a concrete foundation company employing about 50 people. His opinions are more to the right in line with those originally espoused by Mr. Ryan, but he believes the less restrictive policies of Mr. Romney are better suited to today’s partisan political environment.
He voted for John McCain four years ago and said he would support anyone over Mr. Obama.
“It’s a whole litany of things, starting with the world right on down,’’ he said. “We should not have the regulations we have on the housing and building industry. It’s just overwhelming. It’s restriction on being able to hire and train. It’s just too much.’’
Democrats and labor groups have been shadowing the Romney-Ryan bus tour at each stop.
“You can barely afford bus fare to get work, especially when you’re a single parent like me,” said Tamica Plair, a Cincinnati employee of Burlington Coat Factory, one of the companies that had been owned by Mr. Romney’s former company, Bain Capital.
“They’ll tell you if you’ve have experience you’ll get higher pay, but that’s a lie,’’ she said. “They want to pay you as little as possible to maximize their own profits.”