Paul Ryan in Lakewood: Veep candidate talks economy, his love of Colorado

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"It's great to be here in Colorado," Ryan said at the start of the rally. "I was actually planning on being here in Colorado this week...."

"Yeah!" someone shouted in the audience.

"...only on our family vacation," the Wisconsin congressman continued. "You see, my family is over in one of our great national forests here in Colorado while we speak. We come here every summer. I've been climbing fourteeners for over twenty years here in this great state."

The comment scored him loud applause.

"I have such great memories of jumping in our family station wagon...and enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains you have out here," he says. "This is one of the most beautiful states in the country."

Colorado is also a key swing state that will play an important role in the November election, which is why residents in the Denver metro area have been fortunate enough to have visits from Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and now Ryan in the span of less than three weeks.

The importance was not lost on Ryan, who told a crowd into the thousands, "I hope people here in Jeffco understand exactly what I'm saying.... People here in Jeffco are gonna have a huge opportunity, but you also have a huge responsibility, because in counties like this, in states like this, you will determine the future of our country."

Early in his speech, Ryan quickly transitioned from a talk of his love for Colorado to talk of the economy. "Without a doubt, President Obama inherited a difficult situation. Here's the problem: He made it worse. We have seen a failure of leadership...to create jobs, to get our spending, debt and deficit under control.... The Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is designed to get people back to work. It's designed to create jobs.... We're offering solutions."

One of those solutions, he said, is to "make sure we use our own energy, because we have our own energy" -- another line that earned him loud cheers. He later added, "President Obama has done all that he can to make it harder to use our energy."

Ryan has made a name for himself as the House budget committee chairman, known for his extreme budget-cutting measures -- a factor that Romney supporters hope will help him attract a strong conservative base even as it focuses the race on the economy and Obama's record.

Page down to read more of his speech and see more photos from the rally.

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Sam Levin
Contact: Sam Levin