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Ryan blasts Obama in VP acceptance speech

TAMPA, Florida -- Congressman Paul Ryan, a hero to conservatives and lightning rod for Democrats, accepted the Republican nomination as Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, saying the moment for U.S. President Barack Obama and his party “came and went.”

Ryan's nationally televised speech on Wednesday, the second day of the storm-shortened Republican National Convention, was a debut of sorts for the 42-year-old from the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, who was not well known outside Washington before being tapped by Romney this month as his partner in what is expected to be a tight presidential race.

Republican delegates roared with approval as Ryan talked about his life, lauded Romney and, especially, attacked Obama. He said Obama's presidency is “adrift.”

“Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?” Ryan said.

Ryan may be more popular with many Republicans than Romney himself. A leader in Congress, he is the architect of the party's main plan to slash federal spending to reduce the federal deficit. Unlike Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who has shifted positions on social issues, Ryan's conservative stances are not questioned.

Democrats pounced when Romney selected Ryan, saying it showed that Romney was clearly wedded to Ryan's proposals they claim would gut health care programs for the elderly and poor.

Ryan defended his plan Wednesday and said Democrats “have run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they've got left.”

He said Romney would not duck difficult decisions. “After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney,” he said.

The speech came at a gathering struggling for attention as Tropical Storm Isaac cast a pall from the nearby northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The storm had threatened Florida earlier in the week and prompted Republicans to postpone Monday's start of the convention.

Romney and Ryan were formally nominated in roll call votes Tuesday. Romney accepts his party's nomination in a nationally televised speech Thursday night, the third and final full day of the convention.

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Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan waves as his family, from left, Charlie, Liza, Sam and wife Janna run up to him after his acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Wednesday, Aug. 29. (AP)

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