Raleigh, N.C. — The chief budget-writer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a possible vice presidential pick visited Raleigh on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Tuesday to talk with business leaders and criticize President Barack Obama's handling of the economy.
Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin held a roundtable at Big Ed's City Market, 220 Wolfe St., to talk about obstacles the business leaders say they're facing.
"We have a choice of two futures in front of us," Ryan said. "Do we want to go on the current path we’re on, that President Obama’s put us on – a nation in debt, a nation in doubt and decline with a terrible jobs result – or are we going to elect a new president that’s going to tackle these fiscal problems?"
The House Budget Committee chairman came to the state as a surrogate for Romney's campaign, which has been arguing the economic recovery is foundering under Obama. North Carolina's unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, at 9.1 percent in April.
Mike Wilkerson, who owns a printing company, said the nation needs a change.
"You can't plan for all the uncertainty that's going on with the economy – so much up and down, so much inconsistency," he said.
A few blocks away, state Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, and other Democrats were quick to criticize the impact of deep cuts proposed by Romney and Ryan.
"Gov. Romney and his campaign circus don’t share our understanding. The Romney-Ryan budget would devastate education at all levels," Harrison said.
The Obama campaign has been hitting Romney's economic record while governor of Massachusetts.
Ryan's roundtable comes a day before Vice President Joe Biden visits Winston-Salem. When asked if he's thinking about being Romney's vice presidential running mate, Ryan said he's not.