By PHILIP ELLIOTT, ASSOCIATED PRESS
AURORA, Colo. — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is planning to tell poor voters they would be better off if he and Mitt Romney win the White House and will urge middle-class and independent voters to consider whether they want another four years like the past ones under President Barack Obama.
Ryan, in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday afternoon at Cleveland State University, was set to promise to Americans most in need that a Romney-Ryan administration would protect safety-net programs for them while overhauling benefits for wealthier Americans who might not necessarily need Social Security in their later years. Ryan also planned to describe the nation's mounting debt as a moral cause and urge voters to consider whether they want to pass that burden onto their children and grandchildren.
Ryan aides provided a preview of the themes and excerpts of the text to The Associated Press on Wednesday before Ryan left Colorado, where he and Romney – and musician Kid Rock – rallied 12,000 people at a scenic event at the iconic Red Rocks amphitheater outside of Denver late Tuesday.
"The strength of the safety net and the quality of our education system are among the many issues this year where the neediest of Americans have a direct stake," Ryan says in the prepared remarks. "But above all else is the pressing need for jobs. Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. Median family income has gone down in each of the last four years, dropping by more than $4,000."
In Cleveland, where block after block finds businesses boarded up and most voters have out-of-work neighbors, that message could help Ryan fire up solidly Republican voters. While Cuyahoga County, which houses Cleveland, is among the bluest counties in the country and Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 2-to-1, the sheer size of the city guarantees there is a significant bloc of Republicans that Romney will need if he is to compete in the state that has become a linchpin of his strategy.
Ryan will also try to reach moderates, independents and even blue-collar Democrats who are frustrated with Obama's term.
"Whatever your political party, this nation cannot afford four more years like the last four years," Ryan said. "We need a real recovery. Mitt Romney is uniquely qualified and ready to deliver this recovery, because he understands how an economy works and what makes it grow. ... We can do this, but it's going to require bold departures from current policies."
Aides said Ryan planned to use a teleprompter for the speech, a rare prop for a candidate who can tick through budget policy details with little prodding. The formal address, titled "Restoring America's Promise of Upward Mobility," is one of the few speeches Ryan has offered since joining the GOP ticket. The congressman from Wisconsin has preferred instead to use his person-to-personal campaign skills to connect with voters in a way partner Romney seems to struggle with.
Ryan also was ready to introduce Romney's tenure as a stake president – the Mormon equivalent of a bishop among Catholics – to his audience. Romney has been reluctant to make his Mormon faith a centerpiece of his own pitch, but those close to Romney often speak of the hours he spent administering his fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – both internationally and in his hometown, Belmont, Mass. – and the generosity he offered his neighbors.
"As for Mitt Romney, he not only understands the importance of community; he's lived it," said Ryan, who planned to meet with civic leaders before his speech. "He's a guy who, at the height of a successful business, took the time to serve as a lay pastor for his church for 14 years, counseling people in Boston's inner-city neighborhoods, especially when they lost a job. He's a man who could easily have contented himself with giving donations to needy causes, but everyone who knows him will tell you that Mitt has always given his time and attention to those around him who are hurting."
If elected, Romney would be the nation's first Mormon president.
Paul Ryan's most recent budget proposal would save those making between $20,000 and $30,000 just $246 in taxes, compared to savings of $265,011 for those who make over $1 million, according to analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The "Path to Prosperity" would cut $2.4 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs for people with low or moderate incomes, according to analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Under Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" as many as 44 million fewer people would be covered under Medicaid, according to CBS News.
Ryan would raise the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. If the Affordable Care Act was repealed, something Romney has pledged, that means many 65- and 66-year-olds would be left uninsured, the CBPP reports.
Under Ryan's "Path to Prosperity," senior citizens would have to pay as much as 68 percent of their health care coverage, up from 25 percent today, CBS News reports.
Ryan's proposed "Path to Prosperity" includes $134 billion in cuts to SNAP, according to analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
A single mother of two working full time at the minimum wage would have her Child Tax Credit cut by more than $1,500, assuming she made $14,500 a year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Compared to the most recent White House budget proposal, Ryan's budget spends 33 percent less on education, training, employment and social services, the Washington Post reports.
Ryan's proposed cuts to environment and natural resource programs could result in weather forecasts being only half as accurate, according to Third Way's budget expert, David Kendall. "For many people planning a weekend outdoors, they may have to wait until Thursday for a forecast as accurate as one they now get on Monday," he's quoted as saying in the Washington Post.
The current government worker pay freeze would be extended under the "Path to Prosperity," meaning public-sector employees wouldn't get a raise until at least 2015, the Washington Post reports.