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As US debt hits $16 trillion, Ryan hammers his message home

As US debt hits $16 trillion, Ryan hammers his message home
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 7:36pm

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CNN) -- As the nation's debt eclipsed $16 trillion on Tuesday, Republican running mate Rep. Paul Ryan accused President Barack Obama of more broken promises and lacking leadership on the issue.

"I don't see the debt clock at the convention this week," said Paul after he reminded his audience that Republicans had a debt clock at their convention last week in Tampa. "The problem is, the president keeps kicking the can down the road. No leadership on this issue."

Democrats were convening for their three-day convention in Charlotte as Ryan campaigned in Eastern Iowa, his second campaign stop of the day.

"This is a serious threat to our economy. Of all the broken promises from President Obama, this is probably the worst one because this debt is threatening jobs today, it is threatening prosperity today and it is guaranteeing that our children and grandchildren get a diminished future," he said.

The House Budget Committee chairman played a prominent role in drafting the Republican Party's 2012 budget proposal that became known as the Ryan budget plan. It passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate, which Ryan often points out has not passed a budget in three years.

House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price said in a press release Tuesday that members "have drafted, debated, and passed a budget that includes responsible reforms that would eliminate our federal budget deficits and pay down our national debt, all while growing our economy and spurring job creation. We call on President Obama and the Democrat-led U.S. Senate to join us in earnest, meaningful efforts to limit government spending, promote economic growth through free enterprise and entrepreneurship, and get America out of this crippling debt. Our economy, our national security and our future prosperity depend on it."

Obama's reelection team, meanwhile, released a statement saying Ryan is the "last person to lecture on the debt."

"[Ryan] was a rubber stamp in Congress for the policies that turned surpluses into deficits, putting two wars on the credit card, voting for a prescription drug benefit without paying for it, and fighting for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans when they weren't asking for them," Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said.

Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad who appeared with Ryan at Kirkwood Community College, weighed in.

"Thanks to President Obama's fiscal irresponsible policies we have seen our national debt rise by over $5 trillion dollars just as he took office. We've suffered through four straight trillion-dollar deficits and an unprecedented downgrading of our credit rating," Branstad said. "Forty percent of the federal budget is borrowed money. This is a far cry from what candidate Obama promised in 2008."

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