Ryan hits reset, goes back to the basics at Jack Kemp Foundation award dinner

In his first major appearance since the presidential election last month former Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Rep. Paul Ryan went back to the basics, explaining that Republicans need to do a better job communicating their vision to struggling Americans if they want to win future elections and change the country for the better.

“You see we have a compassionate vision, based on ideas that work, but sometimes we don’t do a good job laying out that vision,” Ryan said.

Ryan heaped praise on his former running mate Mitt Romney, saying Romney “would have been a great president, and it would have been an honor to serve this country at his side,” but said in no uncertain terms that the Republican Party can’t make excuses for what happened this year.

“You know both parties tend to divide voters into ‘our voters’ and ‘their voters.’ Let’s be clear. Republicans need to steer far away from that trap,” he said, subtly referencing Romney’s poorly phrased 47 percent comment.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said at a secretly recorded fundraiser. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

Ryan praised the welfare reform law passed in the 1990s by the Republican led Congress and President Bill Clinton, saying it was an example of what Democrats and Republicans can achieve when working together. He said that once again Congress needed to “find new strategies for lifting people up out of poverty.”

“We need new thinking and renewed efforts from all Americans,” Ryan said.

Ryan, a previous recipient of the award, also joked about he and 2012 recipient Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s prospects of running for President in 2016. Ryan suggested that as alumni of the award they should grab a bite to eat together sometime.

“You know of any good diners in New Hampshire or Iowa?” he said in jest.

Rubio responded to Ryan’s joke in his speech with a joke of his own, saying that he appreciated the offer to go to lunch in Iowa or New Hampshire, “but I will not stand by and watch the people of South Carolina ignored!”

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