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

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"Grow things here, make things here, sell them overseas, create jobs," Ryan said of his plan for the economy and job creation. "We also have to stop spending money we just don't have."

Referencing a Colorado hiking trip with his family last summer, he said that he and his wife "stayed up late and we talked about our country, and there's nothing like the stars and the skies and the Colorado Rockies at night.... We look at our kids and we know that they are our future. But today, we look at our kids, and we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are mortgaging their future.... We have to leave our children a debt-free nation."

He added that the time has come to stop demonizing small businesses and start supporting them -- a common refrain of the Romney campaign.

As his speech continued, he broadened out to promote the Ryan-Romney ticket as the patriotic choice -- the one that will restore the values that the United States was founded on.

"We know that this country, which is the greatest country on the face of this earth...it's exceptional for a reason. It's the only country created on an idea. That idea is really clear.... The Declaration of Independence is really clear. Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government," Ryan said. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

He continued, "Guess what, government doesn't regulate happiness. Government doesn't define your happiness. You define it for yourself."

He said that the difference between Obama and Romney is obvious -- and something news outlets have noted became even more evident with the pick of Ryan. "What we're offering is a very clear contrast, a very clear choice. What kind of future do you want to have? What kind of people do you want to be?"

"Free!" several in the crowd shouted back.

"We want that American ideal.... It's the opportunity society...where you can meet your potential. Nothing is stopping you from meeting your destiny."

While Ryan emphasized smaller government, Obama's Colorado team held a response event today. According to a press release, several Democratic leaders in the state came together to highlight how Romney and Ryan would hurt working families, women and seniors. The Dems also drew attention to the wind energy production tax credit, which Romney and Ryan oppose but Obama's team says would create jobs.

At the end of his speech, after touting Romney's business record and criticizing the Obama campaign for trying to distract and divide voters, Ryan said the time has come for voters to make the right choice.

"We can turn our country around," he said. "I'm telling you, it's not to late to turn this thing around, get people back to work, to give our children a debt-free nation and to reignite the American dream."

Page down to see more photos from the rally.
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Sam Levin
Contact: Sam Levin