THE RACE: Both tickets downplaying parts of past

August 13, 2012 - 12:43 PM
Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at Flagler college, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in St. Augustine, Fla. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Both the Obama-Biden and spanking new Romney-Ryan tickets are running away from parts of their past as they reach for a November White House victory.

Mitt Romney reset the race and energized the Republican base over the weekend by partnering with Rep. Paul Ryan, 42.

Republicans cheered. Democrats attacked Ryan's plans to slash popular domestic programs and overhaul Medicare.

The House Budget Committee chairman has gone beyond Romney in proposals to shrink the government and partly unravel its safety net for the elderly, disabled and poor.

Romney's campaign emphasizes Romney "will be putting together his own plan." But he's backed Ryan's blueprint and will be pressed to spell out where they differ.

Both downplay the fact that Ryan has spent almost all his adult life in Washington — not helpful for a campaign with a distinctly anti-Washington flavor.

Romney says Ryan's "career ambition was not in Washington" but he "decided to serve" to help right the nation's course.

Romney also is quiet on his own wealth and his role at Bain Capital in job layoffs.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden still run from being linked to the slack economy. They blame the weakness on policies of their GOP predecessors and cherry-pick recent job-creation statistics to divert attention from the half million jobs lost since they took office.

Romney had two rallies and a business roundtable Monday in Florida. Ryan campaigned solo in Iowa.

Obama, also in Iowa on a three-day bus tour, accused Ryan of blocking a farm bill important "to Iowa and our rural communities."

Romney praised his running mate for "ideas that are very different than the president's" and told a St. Augustine rally they'd work together to "finally get to a balanced budget."

Ryan's budget would balance the budget — in the 2030s.

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