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Both President Obama and Mitt Romney’s newly minted running mate, Paul Ryan, weaved through Iowa Monday, exchanging attacks and making pitches to battleground voters.
Ryan picked the Iowa State Fair for his first solo campaign stop, which drew both supporters and relentless hecklers, including two women who tried to storm the stage before being removed by security, NBC News reported.
“We’re used to it,” Ryan said after his speech. “I come from Wisconsin.”
The charismatic young conservative spoke calmly through persistent interruptions, pausing briefly to address the stage-storming disruption.
"It's funny because Iowans and Wisconsinites we like to be respectful of one another and peaceful with one another and listen to one another,” he said. “These ladies must not be from Iowa or Wisconsin.”
Echoing Romney's message, Ryan took aim at Obama's economic policies and told the crowd that if they saw the president during his spin through the state, that they should ask him "the same question I get asked all over America, and that is, where are the jobs, Mr. President?"
Above the shouts of protesters, who asked if he would cut Medicare and demanded that he "end the wars," Ryan continued his attack on Obama's spending and welfare policies.
“President Barack Obama just passed a rule waiving those work requirements saying no longer do states have —actually have to have work requirements if people are going to receive welfare,” he said. “That’s going to send us in the wrong direction. That’s the wrong way to go. We want to give people hands up, not hand outs.”
He did not address drought relief or take questions on Medicare—one of the programs that would be changed under the budget he shepherded through the Republican-controlled House, but which Democrats oppose.
Across the state, the president, who was beginning the first day of a three-day Iowa bus tour, took on Ryan directly, blaming him for a stalled bill that would provide federal funding to farmers.
He said that Ryan was "one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way," and urged the crowd to tell Ryan "how important this farm bill is to Iowa and its rural communities," according to NBC News.
The Senate's farm bill, which includes a $16 billion cut to food stamps, has faced objections from some conservatives who want steeper cuts, NBC News reported. Ryan's budget proposal would slash food stamps by $33 billion.
The friendly crowd cheered the president, who had earlier in the day announced that the federal government would buy up $170 million of beef, pork, lamb and catfish to help farmers though one of the worst droughts in half a century.
House Speaker John Boehner's office issued a statement in response to Obama's speech, accusing the Democratic-controlled Senate of leaving "town for August without taking action on a drought aid bill that passed the House with bipartisan support, including the support of Chairman Ryan." The statement also called Obama's attacks on Ryan and Republicans a sign of "desperation to change the subject to anything other than his failures on jobs and the economy."
The Romney campaign echoed Boehner's defense of Ryan, pointing out that the congressman hails from an agricultural state and "the truth is no one will work harder to defend farmers and ranchers than the Romney-Ryan ticket."
The president continued his tour through the state, which he won decisively in 2008, and said he planned to finish it off Wednesday at the state fair.