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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Iowa Woman 'Outraged' Over Portrayal of Her Question to Ryan

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
October 5, 2012

A woman who pressed vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for more specifics on his jobs plan at a town hall meeting in Clinton, Iowa, this week has penned an op-ed in her local newspaper expressing outrage over the way the question was interpreted by President Obama’s campaign and the reporters who covered the event.

“I was quite shocked to learn the Obama campaign seized my question, putting out the statement, ‘Even Ryan can’t attend his own rally without being called out,’” wrote Linda Morrison of Fulton, Iowa, in the Quad-City Times. “I was not calling Ryan out. I had the opportunity to ask a direct question to Paul Ryan and what I got was a complete direct answer with no spin.”

“Even though 600 other people were attending, I felt Mr. Ryan was talking directly to me. I thanked him after the event for answering my question. I left the event feeling satisfied and confident that the Romney/Ryan plan is what our country needs. Today I am outraged that my question is being misrepresented and used as a political tool against the Romney/Ryan campaign by both media and the Obama camp,” she continued.

 

The piece ends with her posing the same question to Obama:  What is your specific plan to fix the economy you said you would fix 4 years ago?

Many reporters at the event seized on the question in part because Morrison told Ryan that he hadn't answered a question posed to him by Chris Wallace in a Fox News Sunday appearance the day before the event. The question she asked Ryan on Monday was, “you know we keep talking about China and jobs and then we talk about the unemployment. But, where are the answers? I mean, why aren’t you more specific? I heard you, was it Sunday when you were on Fox, and you didn't answer his question about how we’re going to – you know, what are your plans?”

In response, Ryan launched into a lengthy description of the campaign’s five-point plan to create jobs, joking when he finished that he would never have that much time on a television program.

Unlike some town hall participants, who urge Ryan to share his plans so he can convince supporters like themselves, Morrison appeared to be seeking information that she felt had not been part of the Romney campaign’s narrative up until that point. The tone of the question conveyed an earnestness and curiosity that is the hallmark of Iowa voters, who get to spend a year and a half grilling presidential candidates each cycle. It came during a week when Mitt Romney’s campaign was coming under fire from pundits, conservatives included, for a lack of specificity in the plan.

The statement that sparked Morrison’s outrage came from Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner, who responded to the event by saying, “Congressman Ryan can’t attend his own campaign rallies without being called out for failing to provide specifics about what Mitt Romney would do if elected.”

The Obama campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Morrison’s piece.

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