Paul Ryan on Wednesday stirred the Republican National Convention with an energetic appeal as the vanguard of a new generation unafraid to offer a sharp contrast to President Barack Obama while taking politically risky steps to reshape the government.
"I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old - and I know that we are ready," he told the convention as red, white and blue Romney-Ryan signs flooded the hall.
"We will not duck the tough issues - we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others - we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles," he said as he accepted the nomination as Mitt Romney's running mate.
The 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman triggered the most emotional, longest-lasting cheers of the week. Until him, the convention had been slow to erupt in long, appreciative cheers, even for Ann Romney on Tuesday night. But Ryan is immensely popular within the party, and his address was designed not only to introduce the seven-term lawmaker to the American public, but to energize the many delegates who have only reluctantly embraced Romney.
"The Ryan pick has helped bring in conservatives," said Justin Machacek, a faith-based film producer in Fort Worth, Texas, and a convention delegate.
Wayne King, vice chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, found "Ryan brings an element of enthusiasm Mitt Romney's campaign was missing."
Ryan on Wednesday offered a blend of his personal story, introducing his wife and children. "My mom is my role model," he said as his beaming mother was shown on the big TV screens. He also played the traditional role of vice presidential candidates, providing sharp, pointed attacks on the ticket's foes.
"I've never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power," he said of Obama. The Obama attack ads, he said, are the president "just throwing away money - and he's pretty experienced at that."
He cited the bipartisan deficit reduction commission, recalling, "They came back with an urgent report. (Obama) thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing." Ryan voted against that plan.
When Republicans offered ideas to curb runaway deficits, he said, the president did "nothing, nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue."
Ryan avoided details of his controversial budget blueprint, saying only, "With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we'll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs."
He was more specific Wednesday in his wish that the 2010 federal health care law be scrapped.
"Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country," he said. "The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare."
He blasted the Obama administration for "$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare," though those savings are subject to the recommendations of an independent panel and would need legislative and presidential approval. And some of those savings will help pay for other types of senior care and reducing the federal debt.
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