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Paul Ryan pledges a Romney administration would restart the nation's stalled economy.
TAMPA — Conservative hero Paul Ryan officially became Mitt Romney’s running mate on Wednesday and made an impassioned case that his businessman boss should be America’s CEO.
Ryan, far more beloved by his party’s right-wing base than the man at the top of the ticket, used his convention speech to pledge that Romney would kickstart the nation’s stalled economy.
“After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Gov. Mitt Romney,” said Ryan, who got a raucous reception from the lovestruck crowd.
The Wisconsin congressman, in full attack-dog mode, ripped President Obama’s fiscal plans, and then boldly proclaimed that an administration run by the former head of private equity firm Bain Capital would create 12 million new jobs in the next four years.
Ryan reaches over his son Sam and his daughter Liza to kiss wife Janna after accepting nomination.
Ryan, the GOP budget guru, delivered red meat that was devoured by the conservatives in the convention hall — but his real audience was the millions of undecided voters watching at home.
“President Obama is the kind of politician who puts promises on the record, and then calls that the record,” Ryan said to roars in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“But we are four years into this presidency,” he continued. “The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy as we are living it.”
Again and again during the 35-minute speech, the darling of the conservative movement — a true young star of his party — thrashed the President’s effort to pull the nation out of its fiscal doldrums — and vowed that a Romney-Ryan team would do better.
Fans go wild as Ryan speaks.
“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life,” he said. “Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now.”
Ryan tore into Obamacare, saying it has “no place in a free country,” then touched upon his controversial proposal to transform Medicare.
“Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems,” he said. “Medicare is a promise and we will honor it.”
Ryan’s plan replaces Medicare with a voucher system that critics believe would not meet many seniors’ health care needs.
Democrats quickly hit back at Ryan, noting that he accused Obama of closing a GM plant that actually shut down before the President took office, and that the congressman slammed the stimulus package yet had previously requested money from it for his state.
Republicans gave Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez prime speaking slots that were in part a GOP attempt to appeal to minority groups and women, two voting blocs the party has had trouble wooing.
“You can not be reluctant to lead, and you can not lead from behind,” said Rice, a former secretary of state under President George W. Bush, who questioned Obama’s foreign policy. “Our foes can have no reason to doubt our resolve because peace really does come through strength.”
She received the night’s loudest cheer when she recalled overcoming a childhood in segregated Birmingham, Ala.Speaking in the third-person, Rice remembered her parents’ lessons.
“(They) convinced (her) that even if she cannot have a hamburger at Woolworths,” Rice said, “she can be the President of the United States if she wanted to be.”
View from the upper deck.
The current President spent Wednesday campaigning in Charlottesville, Va., and monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac’s assault on New Orleans. He did not tune in to the opening night of the Republican National Convention, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
“He was working on his briefing books and reading a lot of material, watching sports, but not watching the convention,” Carney said. “Mostly, when the TV is on and the President is in the room, it’s usually ESPN.”
Other RNC speakers Wednesday night included runners-up in the running mate sweepstakes, like Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who touted Romney’s business career, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who slammed Obama’s economic policies.
The night also featured a glimpse at the party’s past.
A video tribute was played for both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Both former Presidents stayed away from the convention — the father due to health concerns, the son due to his tremendous unpopularity among independents.