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Published August 29, 2012
If Chris Christie lit a fire under Republicans last night, it’s now up to Paul Ryan to provide the fuel to keep it burning for what promises to be a hard-fought two-month battle to win the White House.
The Republican vice presidential candidate is teed up Wednesday to deliver the “hard truths” Christie talked about in his rousing keynote address on opening night. While Christie is known as the GOP fighter, Ryan is the point-man for budget-balancing solutions the party claims to represent.
The Wisconsin congressman has been quietly preparing his speech for days. Members of Ryan’s staff contacted by Fox News earlier this week said they couldn’t say precisely how long it would be, but that he has “teased” some of the ideas in it before.
Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is best known for his controversial plans to overhaul Medicare and the tax system. They are likely the kinds of “hard truths” Christie raised Tuesday night, as the New Jersey governor claimed Mitt Romney and Ryan would lead a “new era of truth-telling” in Washington.
“We ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey,” Christie said, relating his own experiences fighting the teachers unions and other interests in the Garden State. “It is time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders back to the White House.
“America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and we need them right now,” Christie declared.
Ryan will also accept the Republican vice presidential nomination Wednesday night, all while setting the stage for Romney’s address on the closing day.
Democrats, though, were hard at work casting Ryan as a regressive choice for the country. A new video released Wednesday by the Obama campaign cast him as “out of step” with voters, and someone from a “bygone era.”
The video criticizes Ryan for being the architect of an “extreme” budget that would overhaul Medicare and for seeking to defund Planned Parenthood.
Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said the video was a “tired and misleading” attack by Obama “in an attempt to divert attention away from his failed record.”
Obama, meanwhile, is traveling Wednesday to Charlottesville, Va., the last stop on his two-day trip to counter the GOP convention message and to appeal to younger voters in college towns.
Both parties were pushing forward with their political plans while closely monitoring Hurricane Isaac, which arrived in Louisiana late Tuesday. Republicans had largely canceled the first day of their convention as Isaac appeared bound for Tampa. White House officials said they were monitoring the storm but, as of early Wednesday, had no plans to adjust the president’s travel plans.
The GOP convention’s opening day was raucous, with a string of fiery speeches — and one deeply personal address from Ann Romney.
Christie was as tough on Obama as he was supportive of Mitt Romney, ratcheting up the convention tone. Christie claimed “doubt and fear” have seized a country that four years ago put its stock in hope and change.
Christie said Romney will “tell us the truth” and “lead with conviction” and that, in the end, the country will thrive “in a second American century.”
“If you’re willing to hear the truth … about the hard road ahead, and the rewards for America that truth will bear, I’m here to begin with you this new era of truth-telling,” Christie said.
Warming up the crowd for Ryan Wednesday is another high-profile roster of Republican names. The list includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.