TAMPA, Fla. ‚?? Seizing the campaign spotlight, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan embraced ‚??the calling of my generation‚?Ě to help lead the country in tough times Wednesday night and pledged to cheering Republican National Convention delegates and a prime time TV audience that Mitt Romney will make the bold and difficult decisions needed to repair the nation‚??s economy.
‚??After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney,‚?Ě the 42-year-old Wisconsin lawmaker declared in what amounted to a national debut.
‚??We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead,‚?Ě Ryan said.
His speech was part attack on Obama, part spirited testimonial to Romney, all leavened by a loving tribute to Ryan‚??s own mother, seated across the hall in a VIP box. ‚??To this day, my mom is a role model,‚?Ě he said while she beamed and exchanged smiles with one of his children and delegates cheered.
As for Obama and the Democrats, he said they ‚??have run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they‚??ve got left.‚?Ě
To the cheers of the delegates, he pledged Republicans would save Medicare from looming bankruptcy, despite constant accusations from Democrats that the GOP approach would shred the program that provides health care to more than 30 million seniors.
‚??Our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate,‚?Ě Ryan declared. But he offered no details of the remedy Republicans would propose.
Romney, in a secondary role if only for a moment, accused Obama of backing ‚??reckless defense cuts‚?Ě amounting to $1 trillion. Addressing the American Legion in Indianapolis, he said, ‚??There are plenty of places to cut in a federal budget that now totals over $3 trillion. But defense is not one of them.‚?Ě
The presidents Bush, George H.W., elected in 1988, and his son, George W., winner in 2000 and 2004, were featured in an evocative video. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party‚??s 2008 nominee, spoke on his 76th birthday and said he wished he‚??d been there under different circumstances. And an array of ambitious younger elected officials preceded Ryan to the podium, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Thune of South Dakota among them.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised the Republican ticket in a speech that made no overt mention of Obama. ‚??Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home and inspire us to lead abroad. They will provide an answer to the question, ‚??Where does America stand?‚?? ‚?Ě
Ryan said in excerpts released in advance that he was accepting ‚??the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us.‚?Ě
He added, ‚??The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation‚??s economic problems.
‚??And I‚??m going to level with you: We don‚??t have much time.‚?Ě
As he spoke a pair of electronic boards tallied the nation‚??s growing national debt, approaching $16 trillion overall and more than $5 billion since the convention opened.
Romney delivers his own nationally televised acceptance speech Thursday night in the final act of his own convention.
‚?Ę Pledge of Allegiance by former Marine Dylan Nonaka
‚?Ę Remarks from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista
‚?Ę Video and remarks from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
‚?Ę Remarks from Bob White, chairman of Romney for President Campaign
‚?Ę Remarks from former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey
‚?Ę Remarks from Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode
‚?Ę Remarks from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
‚?Ę Remarks from presidential nominee Mitt Romney