LAKEWOOD, Colorado — Paul Ryan stepped into his role as Mitt Romney's leading defender, issuing a strong defense of Romney's business record today and holding him up as the prototypical American job creator.
"He started new jobs, new businesses, new enterprises — The Sports Authority, Bright Horizons, Staples — he turned around struggling businesses with an astounding degree of success," Ryan told a packed crowd of about 2600 at the Lakewood High School gymnasium for his first solo rally. "He created jobs. He is living proof of the example that if you have a small business, you DID build that small business."
"We have a man here in front of us — Mitt Romney — whose life is a perfect example of the types of leadership and experience you need at a time like this," he added. "The man and the moment have met one another."
Ryan received at least 10 standing ovations from the crowd, who whooped and cheered as he took the stage, and stomped their feet on the bleachers in a thunderous applause.
"Hey look! No Teleprompter," shouted one man, drawing a chuckle from Ryan and cheers from the crowd.
Ryan echoed the campaign's message of the day on energy.
"We’re offering solutions," Ryan said of the GOP team, "And number one, making sure we use our own energy because we have energy.
Ryan noted he looked at the high prices on the gas pump when he filled his truck last week, joking, "something tells me I’m not gonna be putting gas in my truck any time soon."
He added that the government needs to stop impeding hydro-fracking, a controversial means of producing natural gas, with a confusing web of regulations.