Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan drew a big crowdon Thursday at a rally in Ocala. Speaking to more than 2,000, he attacked the policies of President Barack Obama early and often.
"President Obama is not telling you what his second termplan will be. He's not offering anything new," he said.
In Florida, Medicare and Social Security arebig topics. Ryan said the president insisted on a $716 billion cut toMedicare. The president has said that there have been no cuts to the federal program, but rather, reductions in spending on fraud and waste.
"The best way to save Medicare is to repeal Obamacare,and that's exactly what we're going to do," said Ryan, who talked about the president's health care program and spending in a way we have not heard much about in previous stops, addressing the so-called "fiscal cliff."
The term "fiscal cliff" refers to changes at the end 2012 when budget measures agreed upon in 2011 by Democrats and Republicans are scheduled to go into effect. The deficit reduction plans calls for spending cuts, or "sequestrations." At the same time, some tax cuts passed in recent years are set to expire.
Ryan said, "All this debt that the president is building, that's a $4,000 tax increase that is going to hit families right now. That's atax increase that's going to make it harder to get by."
Ryan also hammered Mr. Obama for his tactics on thecampaign trail, saying, "He's trying to distract this country. He's trying todivide this country, pitting people against each other. He's basically trying towin by default. You know what, we're not going to let him get away with it."
The speech wasn't all attacks though. Ryandid spend some of the time talking about Mitt Romney's plans, if elected. Healso spent 20 minutes taking questions from the audience and got them fired upwhen talking about NASA.
"Now, we effectively have no plan. We are not puttingpeople in space anymore. If we want to send astronauts to the space station, wehave to pay the Russians to tote them," he said to boos from the audience. "Our plan is to put forward a plan for NASA so they can actually havea plan. Bring the stakeholders in the private sector, the contractors, NASA,and that plan is part of our vital national security interest."
President Obama canceled the Bush-era Constellation program, which would have sent astronauts to the moon by 2020. Instead, he has directed NASA to focus on missions to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025 and then on to Mars within a decade of that. More and more low-Earth orbit missions would be handed over to the private sector.
Dozens of Obama supporters camped out across the street from the Ocala Town Square during the Ryan rally, sometimes chantingloudly enough to be heard, but they were largely ignored.