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Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at a
Steve Helber/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 9/19/2012
AP Political Writer
NEWPORT NEWS--Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan began a two-day push-back in Virginia Tuesday, trying to stop a Republican slide in two statewide polls in the past week by hammering President Barack Obama over job losses and energy policy.
The Wisconsin congressman addressed a standing-room-only crowd of about 1,700 roaring conservatives at Christopher Newport University, then headed 200 miles to the west to try it again early Wednesday in Danville, a once-thriving tobacco and textile town that has fallen on hard times during the past 20 years.
Ryan took advantage of the day's headlines to capitalize on the stagnant economy, an issue that remains a burden for Obama. Alpha Natural Resources on Tuesday disclosed that it is closing mines and eliminating 1,200 jobs in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Ryan blamed what he called Obama's "war on coal" on the Environmental Protection Agency.
"The Obama administration's hostility toward coal, toward American energy independence is going to go, and the date it's going to go is Nov. 6, 2012," Ryan said.
Forsaking coal has made the nation more dependent on oil from hostile nations in the Middle East, Ryan said. The Republican also alleged that Obama showed weakness abroad last week in dealing with riots against the U.S. embassy in Egypt and the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at an American consulate in Libya.
"Anybody, whether it's an adversary who wants to test us or an ally who needs to depend on us, will know that that is a strong America with an unrivaled military," Ryan said.
He blamed the president for deep, automatic defense cuts due in January unless a deeply divided Congress can reach a bipartisan accord on reducing the $16 trillion federal debt in the next
"When we're complicit with these devastating defense cuts, we show weakness," Ryan said, a remark targeted to the region's large population of active-duty and retired military.
He referred to a deal Congress and the White House reached in August 2011 to raise the nation's debt ceiling in exchange for a deficit reduction agreement by a congressional super-committee. An incentive for Congress to act prescribes wrenching across-the-board cuts to military and domestic spending at the start of 2013. Ryan never mentioned that he voted for the 2011 budget-control legislation and, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, advocated for its passage on the House floor.
Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have stayed focused on Hampton Roads, a swing area made up of major cities such as Norfolk and Virginia Beach, blue-collar heavy manufacturing at a shipyard in Newport News and the world's largest U.S. Navy base.