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I never thought much about it until I got an email from the Rob Zerban campaign (copy below), but why won’t Rep. Ryan debate Rob Zerban?  Ryan is running ads to support his re-election campaign but he is not actually on the trail to defend his record to his home constituents.

Ryan, to date has not agreed to debate his opponent in this race for his re-election to the House although Rob Zerban, has asked Ryan to join him in two debates.

Maybe voters in the 1st District should be asking themselves if Ryan has forgotten them in his headlong rush for the national spotlight.

Rev. Al brings up a few reason why you need to explain yourself.

Transcript (I transcribed as best I could for those of you who can not view video:

We've talked for months about the disastrous impact Republican policies have on people who are already struggling.  Today Paul Ryan came face-to-face with one of those people.  At a campaign event a woman on public assistance asked Ryan how he would help people like her.

Woman asks:  I make $316 every two weeks.  I'm wondering what you're prepared to do to end welfare as a hand-up and not a hand-out.  I can't get off welfare with what I make right now.

This is a woman in need.  A woman who is struggling.  She says she can't afford to get off welfare.  Just listen to the end of Ryan's response to her question:

the only thing that limits you is your god-given talent and your own effort.  We need to have that dynamic economy returned.  You do that by growing the economy and  giving people a hand-up and not a hand-out.  Teach a man to fish he can feed himself for life - don't simply feed fish.  

Don't feed fish?  What does that even mean?  And the only limit is your talent and effort?  We've hear this from Herman Cain - remember if you're not rich, blame yourself.  The truth is, instead of offering solutions to help the poor, Republicans want to gut the safety net.  We have nearly two thirds of Ryan's budget cuts come from low income programs.  Things like Medicaid, food stamps and Pell grants.  But his running mate thinks that there's plenty of cash to give tax cuts to the rich.  Romney's tax plan would raise taxes on low income Americans and it would raise taxes on the middle class but would give a big old tax break to millionaires.  Mr. Ryan,  I'm all for teaching man to fish but you're giving the catch of the day to the wealthy and throwing everyone else overboard.  Platitudes, slogans - all of that is nice but telling a man to tighten up his belt when he is already been stripped down to his underwear.  What could be inspirational becomes insensitive and downright insulting.  

Let's have a program for all Americans, not just those at the top, not just those that have already succeeded but those that really believe in this country and just wants a chance to get on their feet and participate and make a livelihood for their family, like the lady you met today.

Democratic Underground:

......since when does Paul Ryan believe in teaching people to fish? Ryan's budget plan includes some pretty brutal cuts to education and public-assistance programs. In fact, though much of his agenda is vague when it comes to reductions, if Ryan's cuts were applied evenly, his budget could cut nearly $5 billion from elementary and secondary education, and take college aid away from nearly 10 million students.

The idea of stressing education as a mechanism for growth and social mobility sounds pretty appealing, but the Republican vision is one in which struggling folks wouldn't get a fish, wouldn't be taught to fish, the lake gets drained, and those affected would be told to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Email from Rob Zerban:

As Paul Ryan campaigns for vice president, he's also running for Congress against me back in Wisconsin.

But he's making a major mistake by refusing to debate. Multiple editorial boards and over 14,000 people have criticized him for this decision -- and the pressure is mounting every day.

Can you add to the momentum by signing my petition calling for Paul Ryan to debate the issues in front of local voters? Click here.

If Paul Ryan agrees to debate, his extreme positions will both hurt his political standing back home and make big news nationally -- hurting Republicans across the nation.

As a small businessman, I'm uniquely suited to explain why our economy needs Medicare For All, not Paul Ryan's extreme vision of Medicare For None. As Paul Ryan pushes tax cuts for the rich and cuts to Social Security benefits, I'll hold him accountable.

Next week, we'll be delivering the petitions to Paul Ryan's campaign office in front of the media to increase the pressure.

Please help us get to 20,000 petition signers by the time of the delivery. Click here to add your name.

Thanks for being a bold progressive.

-- Rob Zerban

Originally posted to Olympia on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 01:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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