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Paul Ryan: GOP message is not ‘vote for me by default’

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Paul Ryan on Tuesday rallied a raucous crowd of supporters at a high school here, making the case on his fourth day as Mitt Romney’s running mate that the GOP ticket is one of ideas, not just an alternative to President Obama.

“You see, we’re not going to go to people in this country and say, ‘The other guy is so bad that you have to vote for me by default,’” Ryan said in remarks at Palo Verde High School.

The theme of the event was housing; Ryan touched on the topic only briefly, though, before launching as he did earlier in the day into a broader critique of Obama’s handling of the country’s economy.

And even as Medicare continues to dominate the political debate, Ryan did not address the topic in his remarks.

“We — for the first time in the history of this nation — are giving our kids a diminished future. We’re mortgaging their future and giving them a burden of debt they can’t possibly survive,” he said.

If Obama were to get reelected, he contended, “it would be more of the same.”

“Obamanomics is not working,” he said. “And you know what, the recovery starts November the Sixth.”

He received a rowdy welcome from the crowd, which stomped its feet when Ryan said that Americans’ rights come “from God, not from government.”

And he touted Mitt Romney’s leadership as governor of Massachusetts as well as at Bain Capital and as head of the Olympics.

“I’ve known Mitt Romney for five years,” Ryan said. “This is a man — it’s the kind of man you want to serve as your president. It’s the kind of man who, when he got involved, he fixed things. Earnest. Family man. Man of achievement and integrity.”

At one point, he joked at the applause from the crowd when he mentioned that he hails from Janesville, Wis.

“Thanks mom!” he said.

Afterward, he posed for photos and shook hands with supporters, who swarmed him the moment he finished speaking.

Stephen Boggioni, a 59-year-old Las Vegas retiree, tossed a baseball in Ryan’s direction; Ryan caught the ball one-handed, signed it, and then handed it to a Secret Service agent, who handed it back to Boggioni.

Boggioni said after the event that he was impressed with Ryan’s catch.

“You ever seen Barack throw a ball?” he said with a laugh.

A Republican who voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, Boggioni said that the country needs a change from Obama.

“I’m tired of seeing my neighbors with U-Hauls in front of their houses, leaving,” he said. “Holding garage sales and selling their children’s toys. I’m not blaming it all on him, but we’ve got to try something new. We’ve got to try something new.”

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