ADEL, Iowa — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan heaped praise on Bill Clinton on Wednesday and compared President Barack Obama unfavorably to him, just hours before the former president was to address the Democratic National Convention.
Campaigning in Iowa, Ryan cited Clinton as the inspiration for some changes the GOP ticket led by Mitt Romney is proposing. Ryan also credited Clinton for signing legislation aimed at reducing federal budget deficits, while painting Obama as a failure.
"Under President Clinton we got welfare reform," Ryan told an audience outside a small-town courthouse west of Des Moines. "President Obama is rolling back welfare reform. President Clinton worked with Republicans in Congress to have a budget agreement to cut spending. President Obama, a gusher of new spending."
Ryan, a seven-term House member from Wisconsin, said a Clinton administration commission to study the future of Medicare inspired the GOP proposal to offer seniors a choice of traditional Medicare or a fixed government payment that could be used to buy private coverage.
"It's an idea that came out of the Clinton commission to save Medicare," Ryan said.
Ryan reminded the audience of supporters that the national debt surpassed $16 trillion this week on the first day of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C.
"That's a country in decline," Ryan said.
Ryan blames Obama for the spending, and said there will be "a lot of talk" at the Democratic convention, but no new solutions.
"We're going to hear a lot of things in Charlotte, but we're not going to hear a convincing argument that we're better off than we were four years ago," Ryan said, standing in front of a new backdrop with the words: "Are you better off?"