Paul Ryan accused President Obama of hiding his true feelings about wealth redistribution, pointing to comments that have drawn criticism from conservative critics.
"Every now and then President Obama sort of drops his veil, he's less coy about his philosophy," Ryan said at a steel plant in Carnegie just outside Pittsburgh. "He sort of reveals his true governing policy, what he really believes."
"Remember back in 2008, remember the guy Joe the Plumber? Remember when he said, you know, ‘We wanna spread the wealth around'?" Ryan said, reviving an exchange then-candidate President Obama had in 2008 with a voter, which the McCain Palin campaign used to rally support. "It's this belief that the economy is some fixed pie, that there's only just so much money in America, it's fixed, and that the job of the government is to redistribute the slices of the pie."
"That's not true," the candidate said. "The job of the government is to set the conditions for economic growth so we can grow the pie and everybody can get a bigger slice of the American pie through economic growth, through opportunity, through achievement, upward mobility. That's where prosperity comes from."
Ryan continued to characterize the president a proponent of government intrusion by pointing to a moment caught on camera during a closed San Francisco fundraiser in 2008.
"Remember this other time where he was caught on video saying, 'People like to cling to their guns and their religion.'?" Ryan said. "Hey, I'm a Catholic deer-hunter. I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion." The audience cheered.
"How about the latest doozy in Roanoke, Virginia?" Ryan asked rhetorically, circling back to comments made by President Obama during a campaign stop this summer which Republicans say elucidate a fundamental dispute over the role of government between the two political parties. The Obama campaign said the president's phrase, "You didn't build that," referred to his point that small businesses didn't build public infrastructure but Republicans say it shows how the president believes in a government-driven economy that fundamentally distrusts private enterprise.
Standing on stage in front of a flatbed truck, under large letters saying "We Did Build It!" Ryan applauded the owner of the steel company, saying "Tony, you built this business. The government didn't build it for you. It's your business, your achievement, and we all benefit from that."