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Paul Ryan: Romney should give America ‘choice of two futures’

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Should the 2012 election be a referendum on President Obama?

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From the GOP perspective, the answer would appear to be yes – with the country’s economic recovery still plodding along, many believe the best strategy for Republicans would be to focus in on criticizing Obama’s stewardship.

But on Wednesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) became the latest prominent Republican to suggest that the presumptive GOP nominee should instead make the race a choice election.

“Look, this is one of the reasons why I endorsed Mitt Romney here in Wisconsin in the first place,” Ryan said in an appearance on “Fox and Friends.”

“So yes, you have to say, ‘President Obama is taking us in the wrong direction, there’s no two ways about that. Here’s a better alternative.’”

He added that “we owe the country a choice of two futures, so that the American people can decide what kind of America they want; what kind of people they want us to be.”

“We can still get back to that opportunity society with a safety net, a prosperous America, and yes, Mitt Romney is offering that kind of vision,” Ryan said. “So he has to be specific and bold about that; he’s been doing that.”

Over the weekend, both Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) argued that Romney should focus in on a positive message rather than purely on criticism of Obama.

“The American people will rightly demand to know something more than he’s not President Obama,” Daniels said, adding that Romney must communicate to voters “an affirmative, constructive message, and one of hope” if he is to beat Obama in the fall.

Both campaigns already have begun hammering each other on the airwaves – to say nothing of the outside groups certain to spend tens of millions of dollars on negative ads -- so the notion that the campaign will be a positive “choice” election would seem to be questionable.

Still, by arguing that Romney should present a positive message, his surrogates may be working to avoid their nominee’s negatives climbing upward at this early stage of the general election campaign.

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