Raleigh, N.C. — With slightly more than two months until Election Day, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says he's primed for the hectic, bruising campaign that lies ahead.
Ryan finished a two-day swing through North Carolina on Thursday with a stop in Fayetteville to blast President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate for not working to head off mandatory cuts to defense spending scheduled to take effect in January.
On Wednesday, the Wisconsin congressman told an audience in Raleigh that Republican candidate Mitt Romney offers a better solution than Obama to restarting the sputtering U.S. economy.
"President Obama's failed record has been hurting small businesses," Ryan told WRAL News in an interview before his Raleigh campaign appearance.
Surveys have shown that 75 percent of small businesses nationwide are less likely to hire because of the health care reform law that Obama enacted two years ago, he said. Meanwhile, he said, a higher tax rate for small businesses that the president is backing would cost an estimated 700,000 jobs.
Romney backs a "fair and simple" tax system that would close loopholes and lower rates in order to expand employment and boost consumer spending, Ryan said. The plan would create 12 million jobs as the economy grows by 4 percent, he said.
"I believe Mitt Romney is offering the kind of leadership we need to get this country on track," Ryan told WRAL News. "We need people to go to Washington who believe in something and who aren't just telling people what they want to hear."
Ryan also distanced himself from comments made by U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, while reaffirming his own anti-abortion record. Akin, a Missouri Republican, said last week that a woman couldn't become pregnant from a "legitimate rape."
"His comments were outrageous (and) totally indefensible," Ryan said, noting that he was unsuccessful in trying to persuade Akin to drop out of the Senate race.
"He's going to run his campaign, and we'll run ours," he said, dismissing the notion that Akin's comments would affect the presidential race.
Ryan said he looks forward to the chance to debate Vice President Joe Biden on various issues, saying they should be able to paint a stark picture for voters of their different vision for the future of the nation.
"We don't have a future that looks good under the Obama-Biden path because they're simply promising more of the same," he said. "We're offering very specific solutions of how to get people back to work."
He said Americans are "hungry for" the type of leadership he and Romney can provide, noting it's focused on principles that he believes have been part of the nation since it's beginning.
"I'm not trying to be anyone other than who I am. I know what I believe," he said.