BEREA, Ohio - Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan bragged about Mitt Romney’s performance in the second presidential debate Tuesday night during a rally Wednesday at Baldwin Wallace University with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
After the rally with 1,200 supporters, Mr. Ryan was then to go with Ms. Rice, a fan of the Cleveland Browns, to visit the Browns at their practice facility here in Berea.
And in a late addition to the schedule, the campaign announced Mr. Ryan would attend a "roundtable" at TAT Ristorante di Famiglia in Columbus.
“Didn’t Mitt Romney do a great job for us last night," Mr. Ryan said. "Cut through the clutter of all the attack ads and what did we see -we saw a President offering not a single new idea on how to turn things around. We saw a President with not a single idea or lesson learned from the failures of the last four years."
Mr. Ryan amended himself later in the speech, saying, "The President basically has one new idea - raise taxes even more." He said Mr. Obama wants to raised taxes on successful small businesses to over 40 percent when competitor countries overseas are taxing at 25 percent or less and Canada has lowered its corporate tax rate to 15 percent.
Mr. Ryan said the higher tax rate on people earning more than $250,000 won't pay one-tenth of his planned "deficit spending."
The 40 percent tax on small businesses is the Republicans' interpretation of the President's proposal to repeal the Bush tax cuts on incomes above $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for couples. The Obama administration acknowledges that most small businesses are taxed by way of the income tax, but that only a small fraction of small business owners earn enough income to have to pay the higher rate.
A spokesman for the Obama campaign in Ohio said Mr. Romney misled voters during the debate about his "his indefensible ideas" and "the emptiness of his own plans," and that Mr. Ryan "doubled down today in Berea by trying to peddle their sketchy tax deal – which includes $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program."
"People in Cuyahoga County and across Ohio know that the Romney-Ryan plan includes one set of rules for them and their friends and another set of rules for everyone else," said Jessica Kershaw, press secretary for Obama for America - Ohio
Mr. Ryan made his third visit in Ohio in five days as he and Mr. Romney keep up the pressure to win Ohio’s 18 electoral college votes on Nov. 6.
Ms. Rice, who was national security advisor during President George W. Bush’s first term and secretary of state in his second term - the first woman African-American to hold that job - ignored a controversial moment in the presidential debate, when Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama disagreed about whether President Obama blamed terrorism for the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed.
She focused her speech on economic fears and on what she said was America's ability to turn the impossible into the inevitable.
"We’re at a crossroads about what kind of a country we are going to be, and whether you and I who have benefited so much from what our ancestors gave us are going to pass on that same liberty and opportunity to our children and that’s what this election is about," Ms. Rice said.
"We are at a crossroads because we cannot continue to spend money that we cannot afford to pay back and therefore saddle our children with debt. We cannot afford to continue to be a country in which so many men and especially so many women in these hard economic times don’t know if they will ever work again," Ms. Rice said.
Among the crowd were many Baldwin Wallace students, including some still weighing their choices.
Josh Nees, 22, of Akron, a math major, said he voted for President Obama in 2008 because, “My area’s very strongly into Obama. I jumped on the bandwagon.” This time, he’s not sure he wants to vote.
“I’m not that interested in it. I don't really know what to think,” said Mr. Nees, who came with a friend. About President Obama, he said, “I've heard bad things and I've heard good things. I just don't know what the truth is.” As a college student, he said one area of concern is whether loans and grants to college students will dry up under Mr. Romney.
Another undecided attendee was Emily Thomas, 19, Pittsburgh, who is studying broadcast and public relations. She will vote in Pennsylvania by absentee ballot.
"I agree with a lot of [Mr. Romney’s] economics. I side a lot more with Obama on social issues and that's how I'm undecided,” she said. She said she’s very supportive of gay rights, but is pro-life on abortion. On the other hand, she doesn’t agree with limiting access to contraceptives. “I think Planned Parenthood does a lot of good,” Ms. Thomas said.
The vast majority of the audience was clearly on board with the Romney-Ryan campaign.
Kathy Geraci, 51, retired registered nurse from North Royalton, Ohio, said the debate performances confirmed she was backing the right candidate.
“Romney was the same as he was in the first debate, which was awesome. Obama actually showed up this time, but he still acted like he didn't want to be there," Ms. Geraci said.
Lilah Gufstafson, 69, of Cuyahoga Heights, who attended with her husband, Bill, said she had religious reasons for supporting the Republican ticket.
“I think the starting point comes from the scriptures, 'righteousness exalts a nation,' and pro-life, pro-Israel, and standing up for traditional marriage is biblical. I think we need to start there, otherwise we get into an entirely different philosophy, socialist and no morals,” Mrs. Gustafson said.
Contact Tom Troy at: email@example.com or 419-724-6058.