SPARKS, Nev. — Seizing on a new jobs report that showed the pace of the country’s economic recovery remains sluggish at best, Paul Ryan on Friday argued that the best way to turn around America’s fortunes is to put a new president in the White House.
Flanked by six red, white and blue truck cabs and with a rugged mountain backdrop behind him, Ryan told a crowd of several hundred people at a trucking equipment company just outside of Reno that the jobs report was “some pretty disappointing news.”
“We learned today that for every person that got a job, nearly four people stopped looking for a job,” Ryan said at Peterbilt Truck Parks and Equipment. “They gave up. We can’t keep doing this. . . . Friends, this is not an economic recovery. This is not anywhere close to an economic recovery. We need a new president, and we need a real economic recovery.”
Friday’s jobs report showed that the country’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.1 percent and that the economy added 96,000 jobs in August. In Nevada, where the unemployment rate is 12 percent and the foreclosure rate is among the highest in the nation, the economy looms particularly large as an issue ahead of the November election.
His remarks Friday came one day after Obama’s Democratic national convention speech in Charlotte — a fact Ryan noted when he told the crowd that Obama “can say a lot of beautiful things, but he can’t tell you that we are better off.”
“The president gave a big speech last night,” Ryan said to scattered boos. “President Obama is not a bad guy. He’s good at giving great speeches. He’s just really bad at creating jobs. . . . If we want the next four years to be any different from the last four years, we need a new president.”
Ryan also briefly took aim at Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), whom he blamed for the Senate’s failure to pass a budget over the past three years.
“Friends, this is not governing,” he said. “This is kicking the can. This is blaming other people. This is not responsibility. This is not leadership. We have got to get this budget under control, otherwise we will wind up just like Europe. If you practice European economics, you’ll get European results.”
The Obama campaign responded to Ryan by accusing him of distorting the facts of Obama’s record as president.
“What does Congressman Ryan have against the truth?” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. “His speech in Nevada today followed a similar and troubling pattern of misrepresenting both the president’s and Mitt Romney’s records.”
She added: “There is one indisputable fact that Congressman Ryan can’t change: Mitt Romney’s policies of giving more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans paid for by the middle class, making deep cuts to critical investments like education, and turning Medicare into a voucher system would not take us forward — they’d take us back.”
Ryan heads to San Ramon, Calif., later Friday for a private fundraiser, and then is expected to continue his fundraising swing out west through early next week.
With both parties’ national conventions over, Friday marks the beginning of the final phase of the White House campaign, during which both sides’ policy proposals are likely to come under greater scrutiny from voters as the candidates campaign their way across the country and face off in a series of televised debates.
Robert Ward, a 69-year-old retiree and Romney-Ryan supporter from Sparks, was among those attending Ryan’s Friday rally. He said that he’s solidly behind the GOP ticket but added that while he knows Ryan’s proposal for overhauling Medicare would not affect current seniors, he’s still looking for more details about how it would affect the next generation.
“The voucher deal, I’m not quite sure of,” Ward said. “That’s why I came here, so I could hear it from him in person.”