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Ryan Strikes Populist Tone in Virginia Ryan Strikes Populist Tone in Virginia

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

Ryan Strikes Populist Tone in Virginia

Big business and government colluding to "rig the rules," candidate says.

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
August 17, 2012

GLEN ALLEN, Va. – Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan adopted a populist tone on Friday as he accused big government and big business of trying to “rig the rules” against the middle class.

“It’s the people who are politically connected, it’s the people who have access to Washington that get the breaks. Well, no more,” the House member from Wisconsin told an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2,000 at a high school gym in central Virginia.

“We don’t want to pick winners and loses in Washington, we want you to keep more of your own hard-earned dollars. Hardworking taxpayers should be treated fairly and it should be based on whether they’re good, whether they work hard and not who they know in Washington. That’s entrepreneurialism. That’s free enterprise.”

 

While presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney frequently blasts the Obama administration for its failed investment in the solar-energy company Solyndra, it’s more often to suggest that the president doesn’t understand free enterprise.

Ryan took that message in a different direction by suggesting collusion between big business and big government—an argument more often made by Democrats, who blame deregulation for the economic crisis.

His rhetoric also was similar to that used by Romney’s rivals in the Republican primary, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Romney has shown little inclination to impose further regulation on Wall Street, suggesting that the Dodd-Frank financial reform law merely hurt community banks.

Ryan was in full-throated attack mode at the event as he laid the blame for gridlock and division in Washington at the president’s feet.

"I’ve served with three presidents since I have been in Congress. This is the most-partisan atmosphere I have ever seen. This is not uniting, this is dividing,” Ryan said, as he praised Romney for working with a Democratic legislature as governor of Massachusetts.

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