Ryan says he clings to guns and religion, invokes 'Joe the Plumber'
By NBC’s Alex Moe
CARNIEGE, Pa. -- At a steel manufacturer in Western Pennsylvania Tuesday, Congressman Paul Ryan took some swipes at President Obama, serving up red meat on guns and religion and even Joe the Plumber and "spread the wealth."
“Hey, I’m a Catholic deer-hunter," Ryan said at Beaver Steel just outside Pittsburgh. "I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion."
The comments the presumptive GOP vice-presidential nominee made referenced remarks Obama made on the campaign trail back in 2008.
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said then speaking at a San Francisco fundraiser four year ago. "And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate, and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
“Wow. You know, these things are intimidating on TV,” Ryan admitted about the gold towel he then placed in his back pocket.Making his debut in the Keystone State today, Ryan -- an avid Green Bay Packers fan -- came out waving a Pittsburgh Steelers' "Terrible Towel” as he entered the venue with more than 2,000 people in attendance and proclaimed his passion for football.
Speaking in front of a large “We did build IT!” sign, the seven-term congressman also gave the crowd another 2008 flashback, telling the crowd about Joe the Plumber.
“You know, every now and then President Obama sort of drops his veil," Ryan said. "He’s less coy about his philosophy. He sort of reveals his true governing policy, what he really believes. Remember back in 2008, remember the guy Joe the Plumber? Remember when he said, you know, ‘We wanna spread the wealth around’? It’s this belief that the economy is some fixed pie, that there’s only just so much money in America, it’s fixed, and that the job of the government is to redistribute the slices of the pie. That’s not true.”
These lines from Ryan on President Obama’s 2008 campaign are new to the congressman’s stump speech.