GREENVILLE, N.C. — Mitt Romney's presidential campaign offered North Carolinians counter programming Monday to the Democratic National Convention as delegates gathered in Charlotte to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term.
In addition to the GOP's Charlotte presence, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan paid a visit to East Carolina University in Greenville, where thousands cheered his message of economic emphasis.
"The president can say a lot of things, and he will, but he can't tell you you are better off," Ryan said. "After four years of getting the runaround, it is time for an American turnaround."
The Romney campaign distributed fresh talking points to supporters Monday seizing upon the idea that Obama has failed to deliver over the course of his 3 ½ years in the Oval Office.
One talking point reads: "Every president since the Great Depression, except Jimmy Carter and President Obama, who asked voters for a second term could look back at the last four years and say: 'You are better off today than you were four years ago.' No president has ever asked to be re-elected with this many Americans out of work."
Ryan hammered on the Obama-Carter comparison, citing rates of unemployment and mortgage delinquency.
"Hope and change has now become attack and blame," he said.
He then turned his attention to praise for his running mate and an outline of the Republican plan to strengthen the U.S. economy. He pointed out Romney's success in leading the Winter Olympics in Colorado and as a businessman.
"It's a good thing to be successful in business," he said. "We want more people to be successful in business. That's how you create jobs and prosperity."
Ryan stepped through the GOP's five-point plan, including investment in domestic energy sources, modernizing job training and education and cuts to taxes and government spending. "The way to grow prosperity is to unleash the entrepreneur," he said.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory introduced Ryan, saying, "Elvis is in the house."
McCrory said Ryan shared eastern North Carolina values. "They love their family, they love their faith and they love people who work hard," he said of Wisconsonites like Ryan.
And the VP candidate shared that love in his speech. "Friends, North Carolina is crucial. Eastern North Carolina is crucial," he told the audience.
ECU freshman Emily Bosak said Ryan did a good job in the speech, even if he didn't precisely target her issue of interest.
"He didn't really talk much about education which I was looking for," she said. "He really looked towards an older audience."
Fellow freshman Matthew Lahey said Ryan's emphasis on the economy is enough to get college students interested in the coming election.
"It's our future," hes aid. "We need jobs right out of college, and it's sad that people can't find jobs, and I want a job right out of college."