GOP's Paul Ryan holds town hall in Cincinnati

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks at a campaign stop at Byer Steel, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Cincinnati.

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks at a campaign stop at Byer Steel, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Cincinnati. Photo by The Associated Press.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told hundreds of voters at a steel factory in the swing state of Ohio on Tuesday that he and Mitt Romney will tackle the debt crisis, improve unemployment and cut spending if they're elected to office.

Surrounded by huge piles of steel, scrap metal and dirt, Ryan spoke mostly in generalities about how he and Romney would solve those problems and criticized President Barack Obama for not fixing them during nearly four years in office.

"Most of our jobs in this country come from successful small business, most of our jobs in this country come from businesses like this," Ryan said during a town hall session at the Byer Steel Group's factory in Cincinnati.

"Our economy is not fundamentally flawed, because the American people know how to grow the economy and create jobs," he said to loud cheers. "The leadership in Washington is fundamentally flawed."

Ryan said that under Obama's leadership, businesses like Byer Steel will have a future of more debt, more government borrowing and spending, and higher taxes and interest rates.

"It's a path of debt, it's a path of doubt and decline," Ryan said. "If we don't tackle this problem pretty soon it's going to tackle us."

The Wisconsin congressman drew laughs from the crowd when he mentioned his Green Bay Packers, who lost their Monday night football game to the Seattle Seahawks after a bad call by replacement referees amid an NFL lockout.

"You guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean, give me a break," Ryan said. "It is time to get the real refs, and you know what it reminds me of — President Obama and the economy. If you can't get it right, it's time to get out."

Before Ryan spoke, Byer Steel CEO Burke Byer told the crowd that the Obama administration is doing no favors for the manufacturing industry.

"See this gorgeous stuff here?" Byer said, pointing to reinforced steel piled near some workers. "That's rebar. See those people right there? It's their sweat that made it."

As the crowd's cheers died down, Byer said Chinese workers are making similar products that are shipped to the United States and sold cheaper.

"The Obama administration said they would take China to the mat. It looks like it's the other way around," he said. "You need to understand you have choices. ... Make the right choice."

Cincinnati resident Jay Owen, a 70-year-old retiree who was an electrical contractor, said he went to the town hall because he thinks Romney and Ryan will be better at fixing the economy than Obama.

"I feel we've got to get someone new in the White House," said Owen, who wore blue baseball cap that said "COAL (equals) JOBS."

"I think it's going to lift the whole country."

Ryan's visit came as Obama stopped by ABC's "The View" with wife Michelle Obama, saying that everything his administration has done has been designed to help the economy, pointing to the auto bailout and lower unemployment.

"Gov. Romney, I think is a good man and means well, but the policies he's putting forward are precisely the policies that put us into this mess," Obama said.

Obama also will be in Ohio this week, visiting the college towns of Bowling Green and Kent on Wednesday.

After the Ryan event, the candidate headed to meet Romney at what their campaign said is a victory rally at the Dayton International Airport.

Ryan kicked off a three-day bus tour in the state on Monday with a town hall meeting in Lima in northwest Ohio. He told attendees that Obama has gutted the military and that projects weakness abroad and emboldens enemies overseas. Ryan didn't mention that he voted for the defense cuts he's now criticizing on the campaign trail.

Both Romney and Obama have new ads aimed at working-class voters who could help swing the election.

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