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Published: Tuesday, 10/16/2012

Ryan pursues outreach to ex-Obama supporters

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

CINCINNATI - Republican Paul Ryan jetted in to Cincinnati Monday for a brief stump speech and challenged Ohioans to find Obama-supporters from 2008 who now "just aren’t as impressed," and get them to come over to the Mitt Romney camp.

The vice presidential hopeful rolled his campaign plane up next to a podium at Lunken Airport, spent nine minutes firing up a crowd of waiting supporters, and then took some time to serve a barbecue lunch before jetting off to his next stop.

"Chicken or Pork ma'am?" the GOP candidate asked repeatedly as throngs of supporters crammed together to get a glimpse of Mr. Ryan.

The speech for 850 people honed in on President Obama's record since taking office more than Mitt Romney's plan for the country.

"We have a president that came in with so much promise. He came in with so much hope," Mr. Ryan said.

"Unfortunately, what we've got now is a string of broken promises," he said. The Republican hammered the president on the deficit, Medicare, Obamacare, and joblessness.

"Thank you for what you're about to do. Because right here in the Buckeye state, you could make the difference," Mr. Ryan said. "This is the most important election in our generation. Let's get this done."

The Obama campaign fired back at Mr. Ryan, claiming he and Mr. Romney would raise taxes on the middle class.

"Congressman Ryan’s claim that Mitt Romney is offering actual solutions is totally disconnected from reality," said Danny Kanner, Obama campaign spokesman. "Romney and Ryan assert they’ll cut taxes, but independent analysis confirms they’ll have to raise taxes on middle class families to pay for their $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed toward millionaires and billionaires. They claim to be friends of coal, but Romney said a coal plant ‘kills people.’"

The quick appearance was inside the city limits of the traditional Democratic stronghold city of Cincinnati, but just barely. The event pulled many Romney-Ryan supporters from the Republican-leaning suburbs of Hamilton County, which is a crucial area where the GOP candidates are hoping to gather enough votes to help to swing the state in their direction.

As usual when in the state, Mr. Ryan brought up his connection to Ohio as a graduate of Miami University and he also acknowledged that state's political significance.

"Ohioans, you know you have a big say-so," he said. "You know you are the battleground state of battleground states ... you have within your control the ability to go find those people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, who aren't just as impressed these days."

He added: "Imagine what we could do here in Ohio if we fix the mess in Washington."

The event also aimed at getting undecided women to support Mitt Romney.

Tillie Hidalgo Lima, president and chief executive of Cincinnati-based Best Upon Request concierge service, preceded Mr. Ryan and told he crowd her story of escaping Cuba as a child with her parents after the Bay of Pigs.

"I am also here as a freedom fighter," Ms. Lima said. "I believe that we are all here to support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan because they are going to fight for our freedoms....We were duped in Cuba by Castro. Let's make sure it doesn't happen again."

She said the choice between President Obama and Mr. Romney is "the choice is between capitalism and socialism, facts and hope, truth and deception, jobs and welfare, the dignity of work and government dependency, fiscal responsibility and more debt."

Lori Williams, who lives near the small airport, decided to come to her first political rally and support the Republicans for moral and economic reasons.

"They have good platform for America to get us on the right track," Ms. Williams said holding her 3-year-old daughter. "I like that they are both Christians."

She isn't convinced President Obama is a Christian. Unlike some women voters, Mr. Ryan's stance on reproductive rights does not affect her support.

"It does concern me but I am glad that [Romney and Ryan] support life," Ms. Williams said.

Ginny Giese, who lives in Symmes Township, northeast of Cincinnati, wants Mr. Romney to win the White House so Republicans will cut back on public assistance. Welfare has been a major campaign issue since Mr. Romney's now-infamous "47 percent" remarks from a fund-raiser were recorded and released publicly.

"I just like all they stand for and I am all for getting all these people off of food stamps and wanting everything for free," Ms. Giese said.

In Ohio, food stamps are down from 1.8 million in January, 2012 to 1.6 million people in July, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Food Stamps are down this year but were up considerably over the last several years.

There were 1.2 million people receiving food stamps in Ohio in January, 2009.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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