WEST GOSHEN — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan motivated the Chester County GOP base Tuesday at the American Helicopter Museum by talking about job creation, the economy and Medicare reform.
Ryan spoke for about a half-hour in front of thousands gathered on the lawn near the museum and in front of numerous helicopters draped in American flags as rock ’n’ roll and country music about freedom blared in the background.
Ryan spoke in broad strokes about his and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vision for the country’s future.
“We need to get a mandate from the American people to again assert our founding principles and get people back to work,” Ryan said.
Many observers said afterward that Ryan’s speech has motivated them and they will continue their campaign work as the Nov. 6 election nears.
“I am excited to support this man, and my area is going to work so hard for this man,” said Chester County Republican Committeewoman Susan Franco of Sadsbury.
Steve Voigt, a committeeman of East Fallowfield, said Romney and Ryan present a clear change in ideology from that of President Barack Obama.
Obama “wants to turn over our freedoms to the government rather than relying on businesses that have helped to make our country great,” Voigt said.
Ryan made it clear in his speech that he and the former governor of Massachusetts favor limited government.
“Government is necessary, but it is not the nucleus of our society; we, the people, are,” Ryan said.
Ryan stressed the need to cut government spending on large entitlement programs.
Ever since the congressman from Wisconsin was tapped to be Romney’s running mate, his positions on Medicare reform have become a key talking point for both campaigns. Ryan did not wait long Tuesday before saying he and Romney believe Medicare reform is needed.
Ryan said Obama has used Medicare as a program that funds his health care reform law. He said that in Pennsylvania 38 percent of seniors on Medicare have chosen Medicare Advantage, but 47 percent of them will lose that program by 2017 under the health care reform law.
Joe Kirlin of East Goshen said that while Ryan’s proposal to change Medicare into a voucher program makes sense, plenty of compromise along the way will be needed for it to become law.
Guy Donatelli, a Republican committeeman from Upper Uwchlan, said he is glad Ryan is forcing the issue to be debated by voters rather than simply hearing “potshots from the Obama campaign.”
Tim Reis of Wilmington, Del., said he attended Tuesday’s rally to hear about Romney and Ryan’s plan for creating jobs. He said he is unemployed and believes the job market is on shaky ground because business owners do not have a good perception of the current direction of the country under Obama.
“If there is a change in November, the business community will be excited and hopefully will start hiring people again,” Reis said.
Susanne Harrigan recently moved to Newtown Square from Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. She said her children grew up and went to school with Ryan and her sons still keep in touch with Ryan’s family.
“I could tell he was a fantastic, smart kid in high school,” Harrigan said. “He has wonderful morals and values and is doing this for all of the right reasons.”
Ryan’s presence on the ticket has also created a buzz with the Republican party base, which has been lukewarm on Romney at times.
“I was on the fence with Romney, honest to God I was. Then as soon as he announced Paul Ryan, I was on board with both feet,” said Bob Kleinschmidt of West Goshen.
Not everyone at the rally was a Ryan supporter, and some said they went to see what he had to say before they make their decision. Pete Kropotkin of Yeadon and Waheedah Shabazz of Philadelphia both said they are undecided and nothing they heard Tuesday swayed their vote either way. Shabazz said she supported Obama in 2008.