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Paul Ryan resurrects Obama's greatest hits (the Republican version)

August 21, 2012|By Mitchell Landsberg
  • Vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks during a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H.
Vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks during a campaign… (Evan Vucci / AP Photo )

CARNEGIE, Penn. -- Rep. Paul Ryan offered a nostalgic revue of some of President Obama's greatest hits Tuesday -- at least, the statements by Obama that Republicans most want Americans to remember.

"I'm a Catholic deer hunter," the Republican’s presumptive vice presidential nominee told a roaring crowd outside Pittsburgh. "I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion."

That line was, of course, a reference to Obama's 2008 statement -- which he thought was off the record -- that when "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania," people whose communities have been battered by job losses "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."

Ryan also brought back the happy (for Republicans) memory of Joe Wulzerbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, to whom Obama said in 2008 that he believed government should "spread the wealth around."

"It's this belief that the economy is some fixed pie," said Ryan. "That there's only so much money in America, it's fixed and that the job of the government is to redistribute the slices of the pie. That's not true. The job of 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."

Speaking at Beaver Steel Services, a family-owned steel business outside Pittsburgh, Ryan concluded his list of Obama comments with the "you didn't build that" remark, which the president used recently in Roanoke, Va., and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has turned into a rallying cry. Obama was talking about how government builds roads, bridges, schools and other vital parts of the infrastructure that businesses need to prosper. If someone started a business, he said, "You didn't build that" -- a reference to public works.

Standing in front of a giant sign that said, "We Did Built IT," Ryan turned to company President Tony Treser. "You created jobs. You worked hard. You sacrificed," he said. "You took risks. You had good days and bad days. Tony, you built this business!!"

The crowd of Romney-Ryan loyalists went wild.

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mitchell.landsberg@latimes.com

Twitter: @latlands

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