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Ryan in NH: Rising debt sinking U.S.

Union Leader Correspondent

September 18. 2012 7:24PM

Mitt Romney's running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, took questions from several voters at a town hall forum at the McConnell Center in Dover on Tuesday. (Gretyl Macalaster/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER -Attendees to a town hall forum here on Tuesday morning said honesty is the reason they are putting their vote behind Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Mitt Romney in November.

The GOP vice-presidential candidate was at the McConnell Center to answer questions from voters and talk about the Romney/Ryan plan to get America back on its feet.

As he spoke, an electronic board nearby showed the national debt going up by the second. The debt counter was first unveiled in the same gymnasium in August 2011 when Romney appeared for a campaign event.

Then, it read $14.5 trillion, a campaign staffer said. On Tuesday, it was over $16 trillion.

'The day President Obama was inaugurated, your share of this debt, every man, woman and child in America, was $35,000. Today, your share of that debt is $51,000. That's a 45 percent increase. We can't keep doing this,' Ryan said.

He said both parties are responsible for the debt and that politicians for both parties over many decades have made lot of empty promises to get reelected.

'If we don't get this under control pretty soon, those empty promises will soon become broken promises,' Ryan said. 'What we're proposing is a very simple idea - we've got to stop spending money we just don't have.'

He said the Romney/Ryan five-point plan proposes specific solutions to get spending under control and to reform the tax system so it is wired for growth, as well as specific proposals to reform education and energy policy.

Ryan said they believe in a safety net for people who need it, and for people who are down on their luck, but not a safety net that encourages more dependency.

'Fifteen percent of Americans today are in poverty today, the highest rate we've had in a generation. When 23 million people are struggling to find work, this isn't working,' Ryan said. 'We want economic growth, we want upward mobility and opportunity so people in the live free or die state and everywhere else in the country can make the most of their lives.'

Carrie Cody of South Berwick, Maine, told Ryan that she is a registered independent, and was not too sure about the Romney ticket until Ryan was selected as his running mate.

She said friends ask her why they should keep voting, because nothing is going to change, and she asked Ryan what she should say to those voters.

'Yes, we can change this. Yes, there are differences and you have to get rid of Barack Obama if you want to fix these problems,' Ryan said.

Speaking ahead of Ryan, former congressman and state Sen. Jeb Bradley said the one thing President Bill Clinton said during the Democratic National Convention that was true is that this election is about arithmetic.

'Ryan has shown the political courage to put the nation ahead of career, to put future generations ahead of his next election and put a plan out that deals with arithmetic,' Bradley said.

Congressman Frank Guinta, R-NH, also spoke, stating that Ryan has been studying the economy for 20 years, and had the ability and audacity to put a solution on the table.

'We ought not run away from that. We should applaud that,' Guinta said.

David Olean of Lebanon, Maine, said what comes to mind when he hears Ryan is honesty 'with a capital H.'

'I believe he seriously wants to improve things,' said Olean, one of about 425 attendees to Tuesday's event. 'I think Paul Ryan is different. I don't think he got into politics to be a politician. I think he got into politics because he wants to change something.'

Olean is a small businessman whose company manufactures microwave antennas. He said the economy is suffering and part of the reason is a lack of confidence in what is coming next.

He said Ryan understands the economy in a way most politicians do not.

'I know that they will pay attention to what ails small businesses. The current administration will not and has proven it will not,' Olean said.

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