SWANTON, Ohio (AP) — Mitt Romney's administration on Day One would approve a pipeline that would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in Texas, creating thousands of jobs and pushing America on its way to energy independence, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Monday.
Ryan told supporters during his third trip to swing state Ohio in the last two weeks that there are enough energy resources for North America to become energy independent within eight years.
"We need to unlock the energy we have in this country to create jobs," he said.
Ryan blamed President Barack Obama for standing in the way of the Keystone XL pipeline and pushing too many environmental regulations that have cost jobs in the coal industry, a thorny issue for the president in southeast Ohio, where coal has a large footprint. He said similar control by Washington has hampered manufacturing growth throughout the Midwest, including Michigan and his home state of Wisconsin.
Obama earlier this year objected to the Keystone XL pipeline's proposed 1,179-mile route over environmental concerns, suggesting that the pipeline should go around a sensitive aquifer in Nebraska. But Obama encouraged the company to pursue a shorter project from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.
Approving the entire pipeline would get people back to work in construction and factories, Ryan said.
The Wisconsin congressman said coming up with new energy sources, improving job training programs and removing bureaucratic barriers will go a long way in helping Ohio, Michigan and other industrial states that have lost jobs over the last four years. He told supporters at a late-afternoon private fundraiser in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac that pro-growth, anti-regulation policies of a Romney administration would also improve the fortunes of the manufacturing industry, which has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs during the past few years.
"We know a very healthy auto economy is healthy for America," he said.
Ryan capped a campaign swing through Michigan with a raucous rally at nearby Oakland University in the school's athletic center. He was preceded by many speakers, including GOP U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, who aims to unseat Democrat Debbie Stabenow, and made-in-Michigan musician Kid Rock, who has been strumming for the Romney ticket.
"I'm very proud to say that we have elected our first black president," Rock said to scant applause as he introduced Ryan. "I'm sorry he didn't do a better job. I really wish that he would have, I really do."
Ryan said he's concerned that U.S. allies are seeing "a superpower in retreat" when it comes to foreign as well as domestic policies. He said that under the Obama administration, there has been more borrowing, spending, money-printing and taxing.
"It doesn't create more jobs, it does not create more prosperity," he said. "We've got to get off the path of copying European policies."
Associated Press writer Jeff Karoub in Rochester, Mich., contributed to this report.