U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is scheduled to campaign Tuesday in Pennsylvania for the first time since Mitt Romney chose him as his running mate.
Ryan, the House budget chairman from Wisconsin, is to visit a steel plant outside Pittsburgh in the morning, attend a rally at a West Chester helicopter museum in the afternoon, and raise cash at an evening event at the Union League in Philadelphia.
“Pennsylvania is very much in play,” said Valentino F. DiGiorgio 3d, Republican chairman of Chester County. The state, with 20 electoral votes, has voted Democratic in five presidential races since George H.W. Bush carried it in 1988.
Republicans vow to contest Pennsylvania, believing their party’s growing strength in the west, coupled with deep dissatisfaction with President Obama’s stewardship of the economy, will make it competitive on Nov. 6.
Ryan is a hero to fiscal conservatives and has energized the GOP base. He is the author of a budget proposal that would slash spending on social programs and replace traditional Medicare benefits with vouchers to purchase private insurance for future retirees who are younger than 55 today.
Democrats, for their part, have tried to fire up their own ranks over Romney’s choice of Ryan as a vice presidential candidate. They sent their latest blast of criticism his way on Monday for deep cuts they say he and Romney would impose on education programs. And the Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a plan to mobilize voters against Romney and Ryan, with a rally in West Chester billed as part of a “Women Are Watching” bus tour of swing states.
As it happened, the latter event coincided with the uproar over comments of Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri GOP Senate candidate, who said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. Top GOP officials were pressing Akin to quit the Senate race; Romney condemned his remarks.
At a news conference in Center City, Rep. James Clyburn (D., S. C.) and Mayor Nutter assailed what the mayor called “the devastating impact the Ryan-Romney budget will have on children all across the United States.”
Clyburn, a former schoolteacher, decried what he said was Romney’s plan to increase the use of vouchers for private-school education. Clyburn called vouchers “trickery at its worst.”
Dayle Steinberg, speaking for the Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC, said that the group is fighting against Republican vows to eliminate federal funding for women’s health-care services that it provides, and also hopes to influence legislative races to help Democrats take back the state House in Harrisburg.
Steinberg noted that Ryan has voted for and sponsored legislation that would limit women’s rights to abortion and contraception, including a so-called personhood amendment that would grant a fetus constitutional rights.
“He’s wrong for women and wrong for America,” she said.
In Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood’s PAC plans to mobilize its 250,000 supporters, and to contact 30,000 female voters, including Republicans and independents, at least twice each by phone and door-to-door canvassing.
Ryan’s day of campaigning is scheduled to start in the morning at Beaver Steel Services, a family-owned business that makes steel plates in Carnegie, a suburb southwest of Pittsburgh. At 4 p.m., he is scheduled to speak at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center in West Chester.
Later, organizers plan to raise $500,000 for the Victory Fund, a joint effort of the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee, at a reception for Ryan at the Union League in Center City.