Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan shakes hands with retired U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Mack of Defiance after Mack introduced Mr. Ryan. Mack was injured while serving in Afghanistan.
The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
SWANTON -- GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan rallied newly energized supporters today, building on presidential nominee Mitt Romney's hawkish foreign policy speech that was relayed live to the crowd.
Making his first trip to the Toledo area as a vice presidential candidate, Mr. Ryan spoke in the Grand Aire aviation service business hangar at Toledo Express Airport where he was greeted by more than 1,000 people. He spoke against a backdrop of military veterans who were flanked by World War II military Jeeps and trucks.
"The President is not offering the kind of spirited and principled leadership we need to create jobs here at home or to keep us safe. Because President Obama does not have a good record to run on he has resorted to try and distort ours," Mr. Ryan said.
He continued the themes of having a stronger military and a respected foreign policy that were expressed by Mr. Romney in his speech at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.
"What we are seeing is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy. Four Americans were murdered in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. In a Romney administration when we know that we are clearly attacked by terrorists, we won't be afraid to say what it is," Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan continued to emphasize the nation's debt situation, saying that deficit-spending is driving the United States into a predictable debt crisis of the kind that Europe is experiencing. He said the Romney campaign has a five-point plan for the economy of promoting domestic energy development, creating new international trade agreements, improving workforce training and education, cutting the budget, and cutting regulations to encourage small business.
He said Toledo is like his hometown of Janesville, Wisc., a factory town in need of more jobs.
"On Nov. 6 we are going to elect a leader, Mitt Romney, to deal with this problem," Mr. Ryan said. "We can't keep spending money we just don't have. If we put the key reforms in place, if we run to these problems instead of running from these problems, we can solve these problems on our terms."
He said unemployment is soaring Europe because those countries "waited too long."
Mike Gillis, communications director for the Ohio AFL-CIO, said Mr. Ryan is just plain wrong about was has and has not worked in Ohio's economic recovery.
"Unemployment has continued to drop in Ohio far below the national average. The rescue of the auto industry was a big part of that," Mr. Gillis said. "Mitt Romney opposed saving the American auto industry and one in eight Ohio jobs. It is clear that Romney questionable economic decision-making and the extreme ideology of the Romney-Ryan ticket do not match the economic needs of Ohio."
Mr. Ryan was introduced by Ryan Mack, 28, a retired Army sergeant veteran of Afghanistan who works as Defiance district representative for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green).
Several of those in the audience said in interviews that their confidence in the ticket's chances on Nov. 6 has zoomed since Mr. Romney's debate against President Obama last week.
Tom Siglar, 44, of Genoa, a school bus driver, said he was surprised by President Obama's performance, which was widely perceived as weak.
"He's always a good talker. I noticed he had his head down a few times. He knew he was nailed," Mr. Siglar said. "I think it's probably helped some undecided and swing voters to go Romney's way."
Leroy Madison, 49, of West Toledo, a teacher who is currently not working because of health issues, said he supported Mr. Obama in 2008 but changed his mind because of the stagnant economy and because he "took a liking" to Mr. Romney after reading up on him.
"In four years I would have thought things would have gotten better," Mr. Madison said. "The economy's stagnant. It's just not working. I really feel Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can do something for our country."
Legal file clerk Janet Daney, 54, of Sylvania, file clerk in a law office, said, "I think it's catching fire right now. We need a turnaround and these guys have got a vision."
Mr. Ryan is making his ninth trip to Ohio, a crucial swing state for the Republican ticket. After his appearance in northwest Ohio, he was to head to Michigan for fund-raising and a rally at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
Several historic military vehicles, including a Jeep and a truck from World War II as well as a 1960 compact truck built by American Motors, added to the backdrop. The vehicles belong to Tom Price of Bowling Green.
The Obama campaign responded to the Romney foreign policy push by saying that based on his campaign so far, "Mr. Romney fails the commander-in-chief test."
"President Obama has decimated al-Qaeda's leadership, responsibly ended the war in Iraq, is bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, and is standing up to China's cheating," campaign spokesman Lis Smith said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will campaign for Mr. Romney in Lordstown on Tuesday. Later in the day, Mr. Romney will appear with Governor Christie in Cuyahoga Falls and again on Wednesday at central Ohio locations yet to be announced.
Also on Wednesday, Mr. Romney and son Josh Romney will rally in Sidney. On Friday, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan will rally in Lancaster.
Mr. Obama campaigned Friday in Cleveland and is expected in Columbus on Tuesday.