DERRY, N.H. -- Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan put his own spin on New Hampshire’s "Live Free or Die" motto Saturday as he rallied supporters in the small but key battleground state.
Ryan stuck to his standard stump speech during his morning appearance at Pinkerton Academy, though he sprinkled in a few comments directed specifically at New Hampshire, which backed President Barack Obama in 2008 but is considered a swing state this time.
He invoked the state motto to argue that the nation will face four more years of economic stagnation if Obama is re-elected, versus the prosperity he promises he and Mitt Romney will create.
"In the Live Free or Die state, we want to live free and prosper," he told a crowd of about 700, many of whom planned to head across the street afterward to attend the state GOP convention.
It was Ryan’s second trip in as many weeks to New Hampshire and his third since being named Romney’s running mate. With an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released this week showing Obama ahead in New Hampshire, Ryan told supporters they need to reach out to former Obama voters who are now having second thoughts.
"You’re the Granite State. You’ve had presidential candidates in your kitchen. You’re used to this," he said. "But that’s why you know the responsibility you have, the responsibility to talk to your fellow citizens.
Ahead of Ryan’s trip, New Hampshire Democrats highlighted how the budget plan Ryan crafted in Congress would harm children, college students and seniors who rely on Medicare. And the Obama campaign has emphasized that it needs four more years to finish the job it has started.
But a large sign hanging behind Ryan on Saturday declared "We can’t afford four more years."
"The Obama economic agenda failed, not because it was stopped. It failed because it was passed," Ryan said. "Borrowing and spending and regulating and taxing ... all of these things do not lead to prosperity. All of these policies basically say, ‘Take power from people, take money from families and successful small businesses and job creators, send it to Washington and then they decide. That doesn’t work."
Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, was introduced at the rally by his two House colleagues from New Hampshire, Republicans Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass. Bass called Ryan a "brave, smart, energetic American with great vision," and implored the crowd to elect the Romney/Ryan ticket.
"Please do not let me wake up on Nov. 7 a disappointed American," he said.