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Ryan: safety net shouldn't encourage dependency

Posted: September 19, 2012 - 12:01am

DOVER, N.H. — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan told New Hampshire supporters Tuesday that he and running mate Mitt Romney will put Americans back to work rather than encourage their dependency on government.

Ryan spoke in Dover a day after the release of a hidden camera video in which Romney claims that 47 percent of Americans “believe they are victims” entitled to help from the government. Romney offered no apologies for the remarks, made at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Florida in May, and said they showed a contrast between President Barack Obama’s “government-centered society” and his belief in a “free-market approach.”

Ryan didn’t mention the video in New Hampshire, but he continued to emphasize the same theme, saying limited government and free enterprise has done more to help the poor and “uplift people out of lives of dependency” than any other system.

“We’re worried about more and more people becoming dependent on the government than upon themselves, because by promoting more dependence, by not having jobs and economic events, people miss their potential,” he said.

Ryan, who initially touted the “Ryan-Romney plan” before switching the order of the names, said while Republican ticket believes in a safety net to help those who truly can’t help themselves, the success of programs such as food stamps should be measured in terms of how many people are transitioned off the programs rather than enrollment figures.

“We shouldn’t be looking at people as if stuck in some station,” he said. “We should look at every single human being in this country as people who are on their way to toward opportunity. If they’re not doing well right now, what is it we need to do to help them get back on their feet so they can make the most of their lives.

“We believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.”

Ryan spoke in a community center auditorium next to a large electronic sign showing the rising national debt and the share “owed” by each American. He said that share has increased from $35,000 when Obama took office to $51,000 today, though he said both political parties are responsible.

Though Ryan took questions from audience members, many used the opportunity to simply praise him instead. Among those he called on was Jack Kimball, who resigned as New Hampshire GOP chairman last year minutes before a vote to remove him.

Kimball, a tea party leader who was criticized for lackluster fundraising and special election losses, implored Ryan to “take the gloves off.”

“The country is thirsting for this, believe me,” he said.

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