LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is scheduled to hold a private event on Tuesday evening in Las Vegas that reportedly will include GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. But the event isn't a fundraiser; an aide said Ryan will take part in a meeting with Mitt Romney's Nevada Finance Leadership team that was scheduled before Romney tapped him as his running mate.
The Romney campaign hasn't always had a smooth relationship with Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who spent millions of dollars backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the GOP primary campaign. He has turned his support to Romney for the general election, though, and hosted a fundraiser for the former Massachusetts governor during his recent trip to Israel.
The Tuesday event, which will be held at the Venetian hotel, will be closed to the news media. Romney generally has permitted coverage of fundraising events held in public venues, but an aide said the rule didn't apply in this case with Ryan because the event isn't a fundraiser.
In Lakewood, Ryan focused on the issue of energy. A top priority for a Romney administration, he said, will be to "make sure that we use our own energy because we have our own energy in this country." Lakewood is a suburb of Jefferson County, which has swung between voting Republican and Democratic in the past.
The Wisconsin congressman sought to tie President Obama to gas prices — which are down from a high earlier this year — telling the story of spending more than $100 to fill up his Chevy SUV and being cut off by the pump before the tank was full. He also charged the administration with intentionally seeking to raise energy prices to make it harder to use American resources; administration officials have responded to similar past claims by noting that domestic energy production has soared in recent years.
"The EPA has given us an unprecedented barrage of burdens and regulations," Ryan told a cheering crowd of over 2,000 gathered in a high school gym. "[Obama] has 10 different agencies and four offices regulating hydraulic fracking. We think Coloradoans know how to take care of this themselves. We want you to be in charge."
Still, he offered virtually no specific policy proposals aside from a promise to approve creation of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
The Romney campaign is also going on the offensive on the Medicare debate. On Tuesday afternoon, it released an ad that accuses Obama of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act. Unmentioned in the ad is the fact that the Republican budget authored by Ryan similarly caps Medicare spending. To cap per-beneficiary spending, Obama's law tasks an independant board with cutting provider rates if necessary, while the Ryan budget proposal would shift costs to beneficiaries by requiring them to pay higher premiums out of pocket.
While Ryan's proposed entitlement reforms are largely perceived to be the area that leaves him most vulnerable to attacks on Democrats, Romney's campaign is addressing the issue head on.
"We're the ones who are offering a plan to save Medicare, to protect Medicare, to strengthen Medicare. We're the ones who are not raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare. We're the ones who are repealing President Obama's 15-person bureaucratic board that will put price controls on Medicare that will lead to denied care for current seniors. We're the ones continuing the guarantee of Medicare for people in or near retirement," Ryan said in an interview with Fox News that aired in part on Tuesday afternoon.