TAMPA, Fla. – Seizing the Republican National Convention spotlight, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan welcomed “the calling of my generation” to help lead the country in tough times Wednesday and pledged that Mitt Romney will not duck the difficult decisions needed to repair the economy if he gains the White House this fall.
“After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Gov. Mitt Romney,” the 42-year-old Wisconsin lawmaker declared in remarks prepared for delivery to the delegates. He spoke at a convention dogged by Tropical Storm Isaac, downgraded from a hurricane but still inflicting misery on millions along the nearby northern Gulf Coast.
“We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead,” Ryan said.
In a secondary role if only for a moment, Romney accused Democratic President Barack Obama of backing “reckless defense cuts” amounting to $1 trillion. Addressing the American Legion in Indianapolis, he said, ‘There are plenty of places to cut in a federal budget that now totals over $3 trillion. But defense is not one of them.”
In Tampa, the Romney team scripted an economy-and-veterans-themed program and kept a wary eye on Isaac. The storm remained a threat to levees in the New Orleans area almost exactly seven years after the calamitous Hurricane Katrina.
Inside the convention hall, delegates cheered a parade of party leaders past, present and – possibly – future.
The presidents Bush, George H.W., elected in 1988, and his son, George W., winner in 2000 and 2004, were featured in an evocative video. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee, spoke on his 76th birthday and said he wished he’d been there under different circumstances. And an array of ambitious younger elected officials preceded Ryan to the podium, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Thune of South Dakota among them.
Ryan said in advance excerpts that he was accepting “the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us.”
He added, “The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.
“And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have much time.”