Standing behind a podium bearing the words “We can’t afford four more years,” Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan was introduced to a packed basketball arena at Oakland U. by Detroit-native Kid Rock.
“I want to be real clear that I’m very proud to say we elected our first black president,” Kid Rock said. “I’m sorry he didn’t do a better job. I really wish he would’ve. I really do, but the facts are the facts.”
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate took the stage as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” rang out over the crowd, and after waves to attendees, he spoke out against President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, discussing his plans for fostering a stronger nation, and echoing the comments Romney made in a speech earlier in the day that focused on his foreign policy goals.
“When you turn on your television, what you are witnessing on TV is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy,” Ryan said. “Our enemies are becoming more brazen. Our adversaries seem more willing to test us. And we’re showing more daylight between ourselves and our allies, and they are beginning to question our resolve. And the reason is America is projecting weakness right now.”
The visit to Michigan was Ryan’s second since becoming the nominee in August. It’s also a sign that the Romney campaign thinks Michigan may be in play following Romney’s debate win last week.
In a poll conducted between Sept. 8 and Sept. 11 by EPIC-MRA — a professional survey firm — Obama’s Michigan lead among likely voters fell from a 10-point lead to a three-point lead within the last month.
Along with the emphasis put on foreign policy, Ryan spent a large portion of his speech addressing domestic economic issues, particularly in comparison to the economic policy of European countries.
“The problem is all of these ideas, all of this agenda that the president put in place, more borrowing, more spending, more regulating, more money printing, more taxing — it does not create more jobs,” Ryan said. “If you want to see what that story looks like at the end of the day, go home again and turn on your TV and look at Europe. If you want European results, you copy European policy, but we don’t want European results.”
Ryan also addressed the auto industry, a topic particularly salient to Michigan and other Midwest states, including Wisconsin, his home state. The largest General Motors plant in operation was located in Janesville, Wisc. when it closed in 2009.
“We lost four auto factories from the area I represent in just four years,” Ryan said. “Trust me, I come from Detroit west. We know we need a healthy auto sector. “
Ryan then explained the Republican Party’s plan is to recreate a successful auto industry.
“The way we do that is we stop sending all of our decisions to Washington with a government-driven economy,” Ryan said. “That’s what our manufacturing agenda is all about: strong manufacturing, low tax rates, good regulations, and good energy policy.”
Ryan also addressed what he called a sign of the clear failure in Obama’s economic policy, and America’s slipping to other international powers.
“China just beat us as number one nation in manufacturing just two years ago, and we were on top for 100 years,” Ryan said. “The good news is, if we put the right people in place and get the right policies in place, we can turn this around.”
Elaborating on his plans to salvage the sector, Ryan said the United States needs trade agreements that put the country on a “level playing field” with other nations in order to save our manufacturing industry.
“Let’s also not forget that most people who buy products are outside of this country,” Ryan said. “We need to make sure we have trade agreements that work for us, so they don’t take advantage of us.”
In closing, Ryan reiterated his party’s stance and alluded to the Obama administration’s recurring blame on the Bush administration for current ailments to the country.
“We’re not going to spend the next four years blaming other people; we are going to take responsibility,” Ryan said. “We are not going to try to transform this country into something it was never intended to be. We are not going to replace our founding principles. We are going to reapply our founding principles.”
Other prominent Michigan political figures also spoke at the event, including former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. Hoekstra turned to the crowd to garner support for his campaign against Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“30 days,” Hoekstra said. “Dump Debbie.”
Hoekstra focused on foreign affairs, and how he believes Obama and the Democratic platform have failed in Middle Eastern affairs.
“When I was in the Middle East, this is what I saw: an Israel that was isolated, an Iran that is 12 months away from a nuclear weapon, an Egypt that is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Hoekstra said. “This is not my vision of national security. It’s not what Israel’s looking for. It’s not what America’s looking for.”
Other speakers included Don Volaric, the Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in Michigan’s 9th district, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, Kerry Bentivolio, the Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in Michigan’s 11th district, and Pastor Kent Clark of Grace Centers for Hope.