Ryan lays out his and Romney’s plan to better America, gets heckled by protesters


Screenshot from ISD video

Protesters rush the stage as Rep. Paul Ryan, running mate of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, speaks to a crowd of nearly a thousand people Monday morning, Aug. 13, at the Iowa State Fair. 

Dan Mackenzie

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, running mate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, described his and Romney’s plan to better America to a crowd of nearly a thousand people Monday morning, Aug. 13, at the Iowa State Fair. Both supporters and opponents were present for Ryan’s speech, with some protesters taking the opportunity to heckle Ryan and even rush the stage. 

Ryan spoke at the Des Moines Register’s soap box, which has been a stage for political candidates of all kinds to speak directly to Iowans for the past decade. The crowd covered the main concourse and was backed up to the midway.

Ryan was introduced by Gov. Terry Branstad as the fiscal conservative America needs.

Ryan looked very comfortable and spoke with ease to the massive crowd. He laid out what he said was the plan he and Romney have for America. However, Ryan started by telling the crowd to ask President Barack Obama what he was going to ask throughout the campaign: “Where are the jobs, Mr. President?”

“We’re not growing this economy like we need to, we’re not adding jobs like we can in America,” Ryan said.

He said that’s why he and Romney have a plan “to get this country back on track.”

That plan, Ryan said, has five points to create 12 million jobs.

“We have energy in the country, let’s use that energy,” Ryan said for first point.

Ryan said renewable, biomass, nuclear, and oil and gas are all areas America needs to develop internally.

Second, Ryan said, was to increase job training for workers, to keep America competitive on the international market. Third, and Ryan’s most clearly stated point and best received by the crowd, was “we need to stop spending money we don’t have.”

Ryan was referring to the record deficit of the Obama administration, which has become a central point to Republican’s criticism of the White House.

“[We are] spending our children into a diminished future,” he told the crowd. “We don’t have to stand for that.”

The fourth point in the Romney/Ryan plan is creative fair trade, Ryan said.

“We need to make more things in Iowa, make more things [in America] and sell them overseas,” Ryan said.

He noted that 90 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the U.S. borders and that America needs to be able to reach them. 

Ryan said the final point to tie the plan together is leadership. He noted Romney has a proven track record both in the private business world and also as the governor of Massachusetts.

Ryan segued this into another jab at Obama, saying Romney “knows that if you have a small business, you did build that small business.”

“We need to rebuild, revitalize and re-energize our small businesses. … That’s where our jobs from from,” Ryan said.

Ryan was referring to the ads surrounding a recent quote from Obama saying people who built a small business did not do so alone. They had the help of their families and communities supporting them and building them up.

“We owe you a choice. We want to give you a chance so you can decide what kind of country you want to have. … We don’t want a debt crises. We don’t want to prolong the recession. We don’t want to keep this path of household incomes going down $4,000,” Ryan said in closing.

“At the end of the day, we are Americans, … and our rights, they come from nature and God, and not from government.”

The some people in the massive crowd were happy to hear Ryan speak. Joni Ernst, state senator and ISU alumnus, was in the front of the crowd.

“I’m energized; I think he’s got some great points,” Ernst said. “I’m glad that he is Romney’s running mate. I think it’s going to be a very dynamic team.”

Kaehlin Terry, 16, of Waukee, said she came with her mom. She said that when the economy turned around, her mom lost her job and had to live out of her car briefly.

“I never was really into politics until my mom lost her job, but that’s changed now,” Terry said.

Terry said she was especially curious to hear what Romney and Ryan could do about gas prices. She said she has been hesitant to buy a car since prices have become so high.

Rick Kuntz, 59, of Waverly, said he was glad to hear Ryan speak about trade.

“We need to produce more in the Midwest to supply that market,” he said, stating he was confident Romney could do that.

But not everyone on hand was glad to see Ryan. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement were present to protest Ryan and the party he represents. Many from the group were loudly heckling Ryan throughout his speech, and two protesters even climbed on stage with Ryan — though they were quickly escorted away by Secret Service and the Iowa State Patrol.

Iowa CCI member Chris Neubert, 26, of Des Moines, said he and other Iowa CCI members see Ryan as a threat.

“To us, [Ryan] represents a lot of what would harm folks like us, everyday people — people that are counting on social security, Medicare and Medicaid; people that need these programs strengthened, not given to Wall Street; people who have showed that they’re not good stewards of money,” Neubert said. “We don’t think they should be responsible for our retirement security.”

Ryan spoke for only 10 minutes, a very quick speech. Most candidates on the Register’s soap box speak for twice that time. Ryan was escorted out quickly and was unavailable for questions from the public or the press. He was out just as quickly as he came in, on his way to his next engagement.