Ryan: We agree with Clinton, economy "not fixed"

In this Oct. 8, 2012 file photo, Republican vice president candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks in Swanton, Ohio. Ryan is preparing for his debate against Vice President Joe Biden, a man who has been sparring over public policy since the Wisconsin congressman was learning to talk.
AP Photo/Madalyn Ruggiero

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on Thursday that former President Bill Clinton's assessment that the economy is "not fixed" yet is just the latest in a series of comments from Democrats that reveal a failure to improve the country.

Ryan, speaking to a rally of roughly 3,600 people here, also pointed to President Obama's admission that he couldn't change Washington "from the inside" during an appearance on Univision last month, as well as a remark by Vice President Joe Biden during an early October rally in Charlotte, N.C. that the middle class had been "buried" for the last four years.

"Just today, President Bill Clinton said it is true that our economy is not fixed. He is right. And you know what, if the president can't fix Washington from the inside, if the middle class has been buried for the last four years and if the economy is not fixed it is time we change presidents and elect Mitt Romney the next President of the United States," Ryan said.

Campaigning at a rally in Parma, Ohio earlier Thursday, Clinton said, "Gov. Romney's argument is, `We're not fixed, so fire him and put me in.' It is true, we're not fixed." He followed with the question, "The question is, which path will fix it?"

Republicans immediately seized on Clinton's comments -- omitting his question about which path the country should take to improve -- by saying they agreed with him.

"The economy has not been fixed under President Barack Obama. Today, more than 23 million Americans are struggling for work, poverty has increased and food stamps are at record levels," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a statement released after Clinton's speech. "Mitt Romney believes we can do better by creating 12 million new jobs with higher take-home pay, cutting spending to put our nation on course for a balanced budget, and actually fixing our economy."

Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner, said Clinton's statements were merely a reflection of Obama's oft-stated contention that the economy is not yet where it should be.

"Since Romney and Ryan's tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest and independent economists agree their jobs 'plan' wouldn't create jobs, they're forced to attack what the president has said repeatedly: we have more work to do," Kanner said. "But, as President Clinton noted, we simply can't afford to go back to the same failed policies that brought our economy to the brink of collapse in the first place - and that's exactly what Mitt Romney's offering."

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