Rep. Paul Ryan’s inclusion on the ticket gives Democrats a chance to talk endlessly about Ryan’s budget plan, a prospect they relish. But President Obama is also seizing on another opening: congressional Republicans are immensely unpopular, and he is already using Ryan as an opportunity to highlight the House GOP’s refusal to pass major legislation.
It’s a point Obama will hammer Monday during an appearance in swing-state Iowa, where he’ll lambast Ryan for “standing in the way” of a farm bill that would bring much-needed drought relief (emphasis added):
“Right now folks here in Iowa and across the heartland are suffering from one of the worst droughts in 50 years. Farmers and ranchers depend on a good crop season to pay the bills and put a roof over their heads, and I know that things are tough right now. “The best way to help these states is for leaders in Congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty. But right now, too many members of Congress are blocking that bill from becoming law. Now, I’m told Governor Romney’s new running mate might be around Iowa these next few days. And he’s one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away.”
The House GOP’s willingness to obstruct legislation favored by Democrats and even moderate Republicans is one reason why conservatives love Ryan so much. It’s also a reason that Democrats are so ready to run against him. Romney is now not only tied to Ryan’s budget, but the Congress Ryan has a role in leading.
After Obama’s speech, the Romney campaign rejected the president’s characterization of Ryan as refusing to help out farmers.
“Paul Ryan hails from an agriculture state and supported disaster relief, and the truth is no one will work harder to defend farmers and ranchers than the Romney-Ryan ticket,” Romney campaign spokesperson Ryan Williams said in a statement.