Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan slammed Vice President Joe Biden and the Obama administration’s economic record during Thursday night’s debate, referencing the high unemployment rate of Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
“You and I are from similar towns. He’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania, I’m from Janesville, Wisconsin. Do you know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?” Ryan asked.
“Sure do,” Biden responded.
“Ten percent,” Ryan continued, “You know what it was the day you guys came in? 8.5 percent. That is happening all around America.”
“That’s not how it’s going,” Biden protested, “It’s going down!”
“Look, did they come into and we were in a tough situation? Absolutely, but we are going in the wrong direction,” Ryan explained. “Look at where we are. The economy is barely moving along. It is going at 1.3 percent — that is lower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before. Job growth in September was slower than it was in August and August was slower than it was in July. We are headed in the wrong direction.”
Ryan repeated some of the the statistics Romney used last week in his debate against Obama — including the 23 million Americans “struggling for work,” and high poverty rate.
“This is not what a real recovery looks like. We need new reforms for a real recovery,” he said.
Ryan reportedly had the Scranton statistic locked and loaded. Prior to the debate, a Romney-Ryan campaign official told CNN that Ryan was prepped with how to respond when Biden brought up his hardscrabble roots.
“If the Vice President tries to emphasize his roots in Scranton to relate to people struggling in the Obama economy, expect that Paul Ryan will mention that the unemployment rate in Scranton was 8.5 percent when Barack Obama took office. It’s now 10 percent,” the official told CNN. “They can’t say people in Scranton are better off than they were four years ago.”