Condoleezza Rice gave vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan a boost Wednesday morning at a rally outside of Cleveland, the former secretary of state’s first public address on behalf of the GOP White House ticket since her lauded speech at the Republican National Convention in August.
Taking the stage ahead of of the Wisconsin congressman, Rice told the crowd at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, that “it’s been a rough decade or so” for the United States, domestically and abroad.
Rice said that “9/11 changed our conception of physical security” and that “the crisis of 2008 changed our conception of economic prosperity and security.”
She went on: “And the last four years have been very tough on folks who just want to work hard and make a living. … And so, when Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say they’re going to put this country back to work, this is an urgent call, not one for which we can wait another four years.”
Rice reprised a line from her convention speech that “Americans have had a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect” and drew cheers when she added that the country’s principles have “always meant that we have not been a people who are constantly aggrieved. … And we didn’t give way to aggrievement’s twin brother, entitlement.”
The event marks Ryan’s second visit to the battleground state of Ohio this week; he held a rally at a hangar in Cincinnati on Monday. Rice, Ryan and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who also spoke at the Berea rally, are expected to watch the Cleveland Browns at practice later Wednesday.
As he took the podium after Rice, whom he called “the embodiment of the American idea,” Ryan noted that it was his second time following the former secretary of state onstage — the first time was during the GOP convention. “It’s a little intimidating. Tough act to follow,” he said.
The crowd cheered when Ryan asked, “Didn’t Mitt Romney do a great job for us last night?”
And perhaps in an effort to do some damage control after Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment at Tuesday night’s face-off, Ryan devoted much of his opening remarks on the the country’s economic downturn has affected women.
“You know, we had a discussion about how women are faring in this economy last night,” he said. “Five-and-a-half million women are still struggling for work in this economy. A half-million women more are unemployed today than when President Obama was sworn in. Twenty-six million women are trapped in poverty today. That’s the highest rate in 17 years. We need to get people back to work.”
Ryan heads Columbus Wednesday day night, where he’s expected to hold a roundtable at an Italian restaurant.