UPDATE: Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan visits Cedar Rapid - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan visits Cedar Rapids

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Republican congressman and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan spoke at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday. The theme of his speech: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

It was Ryan's first visit to eastern Iowa since being named Mitt Romney's running mate.

He spoke in the same room used by President Obama during a visit to Cedar Rapids earlier this year.

Gov. Terry Branstad introduced Ryan in front of an energetic crowd.

Paul Ryan spent the beginning of his speech connecting with the audience, sharing his own Midwestern roots.

His mother-in-law even lives in Clinton.

But he quickly switched gears and spent the rest of the speech critiquing President Obama and talking about the Romney/Ryan plan.

He reminded the audience that if elected president, Mitt Romney will repeal "Obamacare," which the Republican ticket believes hurts Medicare.

The two do plan to change the government program for seniors by giving younger people choices of coverage options.

"We should not change benefit for people who are in or near retirement," said Ryan.   "In order to keep that promise, and prevent Medicare from going bankrupt in the future, we have to change it for our generation."

Early in his speech, Ryan criticized the Obama administration for allowing the national debt to hit $16 trillion on Tuesday.

One point of the five part Romney/Ryan Plan for a Stronger Middle Class is to cut spending.

"We could get Americans back to work," said Ryan.  "We can get prosperity back in this country, get growth back in this country. And have all the things we need to do to prevent a debt crisis from taking us down the European path, we need economic growth."

The other four parts of the Romney/Ryan plan are:

  • championing small businesses
  • creating job training benefits
  • increasing trade
  • utilizing American-made energy

"We want to see all American made energy and we think wind is a key part of that," said Ryan. 

However, Romney and Ryan are against extending the Production Tax Credit, set to end this year.

Uncertainty in the market has caused layoffs in the field, including here in eastern Iowa.

"Some of these tax credits are helpful to get companies up and running but not to continue on forever," said Ryan.  "We think the better way to go is have tax reform where we actually lower the tax rates of businesses altogether."

Congressman Ryan did not mention the Production Tax Credit during his speech.

That may be because a poll done last week by public policy polling showed a majority of Iowans are in favor of extending the tax credit.

Ryan is scheduled to hold another rally at the Dallas County courthouse in Adel on Wednesday.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to be in Iowa City on Friday.

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