GREENVILLE, N.C. – Paul Ryan delivered a scathing criticism of President Obama’s stewardship of the nation’s economy Monday, arguing that even conservative punching bag Jimmy Carter’s presidency was better as Democrats streamed to North Carolina to nominate Obama for a second term.
The president can say a lot of things, and he will, the Republican vice presidential candidate told more than 2,000 supporters in East Carolina University’s student rec center, about 230 miles east of the Democratic National Convention site in Charlotte. But he can’t tell you that you’re better off. Simply put, the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now.
The message, comparing today’s economic problems with the troubled economic conditions of the Carter administration, is part of a broader GOP strategy to ask voters whether they are better off now than they were four years ago.
Polling suggests the criticism may resonate with voters who continue to like Obama personally but are frustrated with the pace of economic recovery two months before Election Day.
Positioning themselves to counter the claims Democrats will make during their gathering, about 50 GOP officials gathered in a temporary headquarters just outside the perimeter of the Democratic convention site. Romney’s team, backed by the Republican National Committee, will host daily news conferences, release Web videos and feature prime-time speakers including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Here in Charlotte, the president is going to be on defense, said Reince Priebus, the GOP chairman, who hosted a Monday news conference to launch his party’s Obama Isn’t Working rapid response center in Charlotte.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio initially was scheduled to visit Charlotte as well, but he likely will not because of a personal conflict, according to a Republican aide.
Ryan will play a more prominent role in day-to-day campaigning during the week. After visiting in North Carolina on Monday, he was scheduled to campaign today in Ohio and Iowa. Visits to Colorado, California and Washington state also were being planned.