In a campaign speech that appeared to be a throwback to the 2008 presidential election, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on Tuesday that he was "happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion," and even gave a shout out to "Joe the Plumber."
Ryan told supporters in Carnegie, Pennsylvania that "every now and then President [Barack] Obama sort of drops his veil."
"Remember back in 2008, remember the guy 'Joe the Plumber,' remember when [Obama] said, we want to spread the wealth around?" the Wisconsin congressman recalled, referring to Samuel Wurzelbacher, who was made into a conservative celebrity by GOP candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin. "It's this belief that the economy is some fixed pie, that there's only 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."
"Remember this other time, where [Obama] was caught on video saying, people like to cling to their guns and their religion?" Ryan continued. "Hey, I'm a Catholic deer hunter! I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion."
"The idea of America is essentially this: Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government."
Ryan's remarks about guns and religion seemed to echo a 2008 campaign speech where Palin attacked Obama over the suggestion that economic conditions cause people to become "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion."
"And there must be something about San Francisco and [Obama]," Palin told a crowd in Ohio. "Because it’s like I heard on Fox News today, it’s like a truth serum, where when he’s there he seems to be more candid. Remember it was there that he talking about, there you go, the bitter clingers. The cling-ons, all of us, I guess, hanging on to religion and guns."
Ryan's focus on social issues comes at a time when he is taking heat for his connections to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who recently apologized for the suggestion that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate" rape. Both men had co-sponsored a bill that critics say would have redefined rape by allowing only victims of so-called “forcible rape” to qualify for federally funded abortions.