Carnegie, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Paul Ryan revisited some of President Barack Obama’s most controversial comments from the 2008 campaign to rally a crowd behind the Republican ticket Tuesday.
“You know, every now and then President Obama sort of drops his veil. He’s less coy about his philosophy. He sort of reveals his true governing policy, what he really believes,” Ryan said at a steel factory near Pittsburgh.
The new vice presidential candidate brought up unscripted moments from 2008 that dogged Obama’s first presidential run.
“Remember this other time where he was caught on video saying, ‘People like to cling to their guns and their religion,'” said Paul, referring to a comment Obama made during a San Francisco fund-raiser in April 2008. The remark was quickly jumped on by Republicans as an example of Obama being derisive toward conservative voters.
“Hey, I’m a Catholic deer-hunter. I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion,” he said.
The seven-term congressman and House Budget Committee chairman from Wisconsin, who joined the ticket on August 11, reminded his audience of another time when Obama was confronted by a man in Ohio who became known as Joe the Plumber.
“Remember back in 2008, remember the guy Joe the Plumber? Remember when he said, you know, ‘We wanna spread the wealth around.’ It’s this belief that the economy is some fixed pie, that there’s only just so much money in America, it’s fixed, and that the job of the government is to redistribute the slices of the pie.”
Paul continued, “That’s not true. The job of the government is to set the conditions for economic growth so we can grow the pie and everybody can get a bigger slice of the American pie through economic growth, through opportunity, through achievement, upward mobility. That’s where prosperity comes from.”
The old anecdotes fed into a larger narrative about the economy that the Romney-Ryan team has been trying to drive home for months. The campaign continues to take out of context a comment Obama made in Roanoke about business.
Their message was reinforced by the backdrop at Beaver Steel with the words “We did build it!” displayed behind Ryan on a flat-bed truck.
“Or how about the latest doozy in Roanoke, VA? Tony and Tony, father and son, we’re here in your business. You have 50 employees in your business. You created jobs. You worked hard. You sacrificed. You rolled up your sleeves, you took risks. You had good days, you had bad days. Tony, you built this business. The government didn’t build it for you. It’s your business, your achievement, and we all benefit from that. That’s what this country is built upon. You see, it’s this belief that we need a government-centered society driven by a government-driven economy. It doesn’t work,” he said.
Danny Kanner, an Obama campaign spokesperson, said in response to Ryan’s Tuesday event, “In Pennsylvania today, Paul Ryan chose to launch recycled attacks rather than debate the devastating impact that the Romney-Ryan agenda would have on middle class families. But that makes sense – their plan includes middle class tax increases, turning Medicare into a voucher program, and slashing critical investments in education, all to pay for massive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
“It’s an agenda Romney’s own advisers have said would be suicidal for their campaign to discuss, which is why Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have completely abandoned the ‘substantive’ campaign they promised to run,” Kanner continued.
Ryan bounded on stage waving a Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel and he let it hang from his back pocket throughout the entire rally.
By Shawna Shepherd – CNN Political Producer
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