Ryan to give speech on upward mobility in Cleveland

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is set to deliver a speech Wednesday that will argue President Obama's policies have done little to promote upward mobility and help the poorest Americans. The speech comes less than two weeks before the election, as Republicans make a final push to show that their tax plan can lower tax rates and cut the deficit without hurting middle- and lower-class Americans.

"Ryan will make the case that Americans stuck in poverty cannot afford four more years like the last four and that Mitt Romney offers better a pathway for low-income Americans to improve their lives through opportunity and upward mobility than the failed policies of President Obama," a Ryan aide said of the speech, which Ryan will give at Cleveland State University. Before the speech, he will meet with community leaders in Ohio for a roundtable discussion.

Ryan will argue against top-down federal programs and promote cooperation with civil-society groups who take a grassroots approach. The message will undoubtedly be tied to a need for economic growth, which Ryan has argued throughout the campaign is the most successful way to fight poverty.

"There is no other system that has done more to help the poor, that has done more to rise people out of poverty and onto lives of self-sufficiency than the American system of freedom and free enterprise and there is no rival for it anywhere in the world. We are proud of that," he said in Carnegie, Pa., in August.

He will also likely criticize President Obama for a memo that allows states more flexibility in how they meet work requirements in the federal welfare program, a move that Republicans have said "guts" the 1996 welfare reform law. The Wisconsin congressman returned to Washington in late September to join House Republicans in voting to block the change.

"Ryan has been delivering variants of this message for years," the aide said, citing Ryan's mentor, former congressman, housing secretary and vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp.

Kemp "cared passionately about bringing the message of growth and prosperity to inner-city neighborhoods and building relationships between the Republican Party and advocates for the poor," the aide said.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.