CNN — Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan lent support to running mate Mitt Romney in Ohio on Saturday by going after President Barack Obama for "picking winners and losers" in the federal auto bailout.
The Republican presidential ticket has struggled to overcome the Democratic president's lead in the crucial battleground state, in part because of Romney's opposition in 2008 to a federal bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
On Saturday evening, Ryan unveiled another line of attack after meeting with nonunion, salaried employees who faced significant cuts to their pensions when government intervened in early 2009.
When he appeared at his fifth and final rally of the day, Ryan talked about the 10 or so people he met with who worked at the local Delphi Automotive plant. The same company, which supplies parts to General Motors, also operated a plant in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, part of the congressional district Ryan has represented for 14 years.
"You see the president likes to go around Ohio talking about how he saved the auto industry, how the auto bailout was such a success. Tell you what: He hasn't talked to these Oak Creek salaried employees, he hasn't talked to these Ohio Delphi salaried employees, because this is one of those examples of the government picking winners and losers," Ryan said at a high school in Sabina, located between Columbus and Dayton.
Ryan's comments came just days after Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a top campaign surrogate, defended Romney's opposition to the bailout in the state's Rust Belt.
At the Delphi employee roundtable, Ryan was joined by Ohio Rep. Michael Turner and Tom Rose, chairman of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association fund-raising committee, which is fighting to restore full pensions earned or entitled to salaried employees who did not receive the same benefits as union employees did in the federal bailout.
"Mitt Romney and I have a different idea of how government should operate. We don't think we should be sitting in Washington picking winners and losers. We don't think we should be deciding who gets what, where, when, and how and who doesn't," said Ryan. "There's nothing wrong with asking for honesty and decency and fairness and transparency and equal treatment for all."