Paul Ryan Hits Florida With Questions About 2016 Left Hanging
Around the State
Having released a new book earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the U.S. House Budget Committee chairman and a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, hit Florida on Friday. Ryan was former Gov. Mitt Romney’s, R-Mass., running mate on the 2012 presidential ticket.
Ryan visited Pensacola, Destin and Panama City on Friday as he promoted “The Way Forward: A Reflection on the American Idea.” The book was released on Tuesday and almost half -- nine -- of Ryan’s 20 stops on the book tour are scheduled in Florida.
“I’m excited to start a conversation about ‘The Way Forward’ and a new vision for building a stronger nation for all Americans,” Ryan said when he launched the tour.
Ryan will be in Tallahassee on Saturday morning with appearances in Gainesville and The Villages that afternoon before heading to Orlando in the evening. After events in Tampa and Sarasota on Sunday, Ryan moves off to Oklahoma, Texas and California.
The Democrats fired away at Ryan on Friday as he started his Florida swing. Steve Regenstreif, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s Seniors Coordinating Council, insisted Ryan’s ideas were out-of-touch and would not help Americans.
“Paul Ryan may call his book ‘The Way Forward,’ but what it details is nothing more than a step-by-step formula for how to move our country backward,” Regenstreif said on Friday. “Ryan may claim he’s fighting for the poor and seniors, but even in his new book he’s pushing the same radical ideas that would gut the social safety net and weaken access to health care – all while providing more benefits for the wealthy and big corporations. Voters haven’t forgotten that. His new book tour is a national showcase of recycling the same failed ideas that Americans rejected when Paul Ryan was the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012. If Paul Ryan got his way, both Medicare and Social Security would be on a fast track toward privatization – leaving the health and economic security of seniors to the whims of insurance companies and Wall Street. Floridians know better than to buy Ryan’s new rhetoric because the same old failed GOP record is hiding behind it. Seniors in Florida and across the country want leaders committed to them, not ideologues who believe the only way to save the safety net and boost the middle class is to gut the very programs that support them.”
While Ryan’s name has garnered some buzz as a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, Florida is the only early state that appears on the congressman’s tour plans so far. Conspicuously absent from the tour are appearances in the three states that go first in the procession of presidential primaries and caucuses: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Ryan has also not been very busy in those early states with his Prosperity Action PAC so far in the 2014 campaign cycle. In Iowa, Ryan and Prosperity Action are backing Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, who is running for re-election. Ryan and Prosperity Action are supporting former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta’s, R-N.H., bid for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. Currently not behind any candidates in South Carolina, Ryan and Prosperity Action are only backing one Florida Republican so far: U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, who is being challenged by Democrat Gwen Graham in November.
With Romney’s name still generating buzz for yet another presidential campaign, Ryan’s 2016 prospects remain on hold to some extent. Earlier this week, Ryan said he hoped Romney would run again. Ryan is also a contender to take over the powerful House Ways and Means Committee since current chairman U.S. Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., is retiring from Congress.
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