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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats blast Ryan pick in mock Florida bus tour




TAMPA -- If supporters and surrogates for President Barack Obama were nervous about GOP nominee Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his VIP, they weren’t showing it Monday.

 “Thank you very much, we love it,” said Kathy Wiley, a 55-year-old Tampa Palms resident and Obama supporter when asked about the Ryan pick. “It struck me as a desperate move. We couldn’t be happier.”

Wiley was among about 30 volunteers who attended a Tampa visit by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. She arrived via a large passenger bus emblazoned with the title: “Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus”.

It was a reprisal of a June tour in which the DNC shadowed a Romney bus tour, undermining the GOP’s message of the day.

During stops in Miami, Boca Raton and Tampa, that message was: Ryan and Romney are bad for Medicare – and Florida. And the Dems delighted in pointing out that Ryan didn’t make it down to Florida to join Romney and was replaced on the stump in St. Augustine by Gov. Rick Scott.

“With Florida apparently being a no-fly zone for Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s team has finally been forced to turn to Rick Scott, the nation’s most unpopular governor, to introduce him this morning,” said Wasserman Schultz. “But Rick Scott couldn’t be a worse choice to address seniors' concerns about the Romney-Ryan plan, which ends Medicare as we know it and shreds the safety net for seniors. Scott’s company was involved in what at the time was the largest Medicare fraud scheme in the history of the United States.

 “If Republicans are relying on Romney-Scott-Ryan team to carry the Sunshine State, Florida is looking increasingly like hostile territory for the GOP,” Wasserman Schultz said.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, was added to the bus tour Sunday after Ryan was selected. In Ohio, a parallel Democratic bus campaign added Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee who lost a challenge earlier this year to unseat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. It’s part of a strategy to add critics who are most familiar with Ryan and his policies.

 “I have experience with Paul Ryan that I’d like to share with you,” Moore said. “Nice guy, nice manners, even won one of the Congressional best looking members of Congress contests. But I’m asking you to pull back those superficial layers and really look at what he accomplished.”

Moore attacked what many regard as Ryan’s greatest strength: his budget wonkiness.

“We’ve talked about Paul Ryan crunching those numbers, and he puts up all these fancy charts in different colors and I’ve sat there for six years scratching my head, because, you know what folks? The numbers just don’t add up for the middle class at all.”


Wasserman Schultz sits on the same House budget committee as Ryan and has worked with him quite a bit. Like Moore, she had nice things to say about Ryan personally. He's an "affable and a nice guy," Wasserman Schultz said.

It's clear that, at least for now, the Demorats feel comfortable that they will be able to portray Ryan as a radical, good looks and all.

"He's engaged in the same 'my way or the highway' as the rest of his party," Wasserman Schultz said.


[Last modified: Monday, August 13, 2012 7:19pm]


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