“President Obama is offering nothing more than the same — the same failed policies that he has given us the last four years,” Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney’s running mate, insisted during a stop at Universal Fibers. “We are offering something different. ... We’re going to get this country back on track, and we’re going to help good job creators get back in the business of creating jobs and people back on the path of prosperity.”
Ryan noted Obama trotted out a “slick brochure” of his economic plan two weeks before the November presidential election.
“The economy is slower this year than it was last year,” Ryan said. “Last year was slower than the year before. Job growth in September was slower than August, and August was slower than July. ... The Obama economic agenda failed, not because it was stopped. It failed because it passed. ... His party was in firm control of government (Democrats controlled the House and Senate when Obama took office in 2009). ... That’s what gave us Obamacare (federal health care reform). That’s what gave us the (federal) stimulus. ... We’re about 9 million jobs short of where he said we would be if we just put this program in place.”
Universal Fibers, which produces fibers for the flooring, transportation and performance textile industries, asked for the Romney-Ryan campaign visit. The company employs about 500 at its Bristol facility, and about 100 to 200 day shift workers were on hand to see Ryan.
Company CEO Marc Ammen was critical of the Obama administration claiming credit for boosting exports.
“We sell worldwide, and we also have plants in China and Thailand,” Ammen told the crowd. “That puts us in a unique position. The private sector and the public sector in China are working together. They’ve got a plan. And they are driving what is good for China. What’s good for China is not always necessarily good for America. ... I can’t be critical. They’re doing it pretty well.
“We’ve got paperwork, legislation, extra auditors, and they make it hard. ... (The federal government) didn’t help us, they got in the way and now they want to take credit for it. ... It’s not right.”
Ryan pointed out tax rates on small businesses like Universal Fibers are slated to move above 40 percent next year.
“(Obama) makes you think a few rich people pay it, but it’s the job creators...” Ryan stressed. “When we tax our businesses at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors, they win. We lose.”
Ryan also touted his campaign’s economic plan: Building a skilled work force; opening foreign markets; reducing government size and debt; getting rid of federal health care reform; and across-theboard use of American energy, including coal.
“This war on coal is going to end when we elect Mitt Romney the next president of the United States. I can guarantee you that,” Ryan said.
The midday rally had one major distraction: A plane flying above the event towing a sign that read: “Romney’s GOP wrong on rape and women.”
But the distraction didn’t distract speakers preceding Ryan, who was accompanied on stage by his family and U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.
“Mitt Romney has run on big issues. President Obama has run on Big Bird. I don’t blame the president for not running on his record. It’s a lousy record,” said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.
“Are you ready to win?” Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, asked the crowd. “We are going to take this country back, right?”
Ryan said the “worst thing that could happen” is Obama gets re-elected and then a debt crisis happens.
“The second-worst thing that could happen is we get elected by default without a mandate. ... What we need is a leader to seize this moment for what it is...” Ryan emphasized. “We will not blame other people for the last four years. We will clean up Washington. ... A handful of states will determine this. What is this? The most important election in our lifetime, no matter what generation you come from.”
Ryan’s Bristol stop was the second major visit by the Romney-Ryan campaign in Southwest Virginia this year.
Obama made two major campaign stops in the region four years ago but hasn’t visited this year.
A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, released before Monday’s final presidential debate between Romney and Obama, showed Romney with 50 percent support to Obama’s 47 percent among likely Virginia voters.
But the polling organization also showed Virginia remains a toss-up state in its Electoral College projections.
The Rasmussen survey indicated Virginia voters trust Romney more to handle the economy but believe Obama better understands the issues of the middle class.