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Obama: Paul Ryan is the 'ideological leader' of GOP in Congress

August 13, 2012|By Christi Parsons | This post has been updated, as indicated below.
  • President Obama campaigns in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
President Obama campaigns in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (Jim Watson / AFP-Getty Images )

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- President Obama may not have good data on the popularity of Rep. Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential candidate, but he knows that people like the U.S. Congress only a little more than they like Fidel Castro.

Maybe that’s why he threw the word “Congress” around so much at his rally here Monday morning, as he lit out after Ryan and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney – linking the three together at several turns.

Ryan is “the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress,” Obama told a crowd of about 4,000 here Monday.

PHOTOS: Paul Ryan's past

“Gov. Romney and his allies in Congress,” said Obama, want to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

And if Iowa voters run into Ryan in Iowa on Monday, Obama said, they ought to ask him why he's standing in the way of a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers.

“If you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities,” Obama said. “It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away.”

The stalled farm bill is not Ryan’s sole doing, of course. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are in a dispute over farm subsidies and food stamps.

“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," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams.

But it’s not likely to be the last time Obama equates congressional inaction with Ryan, and with Romney.

Obama’s message Monday portends his message to come: They’re one and the same.

[For the Record, 11:35 a.m. PST  Aug. 13: This post has been updated to include the Romney campaign's response to Obama's claims.]

christi.parsons@latimes.com

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