If nothing else, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has injected some enthusiastic debate in the race and transformed a campaign, which last week was in a crouch, into a team on the attack.
In his interview with Brit Hume on Fox last night, Ryan came out swinging against President Obama on Medicare:
Not only is the message dead-on, but his calm and matter-of-fact delivery is quite effective. (When someone accuses you of being a “radical,” it is always best to speak serenely, with a command of the facts and a smile.)
Meanwhile, in Chillicothe, Ohio, Mitt Romney delivered a barn burner. He, too, was on offense:
In 2008, Candidate Obama said, “if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.” He said, “if you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.” And that, he told us, is how, “You make a big election about small things.”
That was Candidate Obama describing the strategy that is the now the heart of his campaign.
His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge [Vice President Joe Biden’s comments about “chains”] came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower.
This is what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.
President Obama knows better, promised better and America deserves better.
Over the last four years, this President has pushed Republicans and Democrats as far apart as they can go. And now he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups. He demonizes some. He panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then cobble together 51 percent of the pieces.
If an American president wins that way, we all lose. . . . . Everywhere I go in America there are monuments that list those who have given their lives. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the United States of America. So, Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.
Yeah, from Mitt Romney. But it also bears an uncanny resemblance to Paul Ryan’s “Politics of Division” speech from last October.
Romney did not stop with an indictment of the president’s conduct or Obama’s economic rhetoric. As he now does routinely, he went through his five-point plan (“energy, education, trade, deficits, and championing small business”), which he says will allow the economy to come “roaring back.”
Romney’s delivery is more emotional, and his rhetoric has gotten sharper. He uses powerful cadences now like this:
When an American succeeds, when she wins a promotion, when he creates a business, it is that individual, that American that has earned it, that has built it. Government does not build our businesses, the American people do.
The American people also build the government. We pay for it with our taxes. We choose who will lead us with our votes.
Do you want a president who believes that your rights come from God, not from government?
Do you want a president who honors your right to pursue happiness, not as government commands, but as you choose?
Do you want a president who will work every day to bring us together, not tear us apart?
Do you want a president who will celebrate success, not attack it? . . .
We need new leadership, and new ideas, and a new approach – because four years of failure is enough.
With the addition of Ryan to the campaign you can now see the hazy outlines of the two candidates’ convention speech. You can imagine them doling out the attacks and counterattacks in the debates. The Romney-Ryan team is getting in fighting form. And not a moment too soon.