Paul Ryan hosts town hall meeting at Carroll University

WAUKESHA -- Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan rallied the GOP faithful at a town hall event in Waukesha on Monday, October 15th. Ryan appeared at the Van Male Fieldhouse on the Carroll University campus.

Ryan spoke to the crowd about what he believes is the greatest threat to the country -- mounting debt. The national debt is now more than $16 trillion.

Meanwhile, Democrats say Ryan and the Republicans are mostly responsible for the nation's debt issues.

Ryan pointed to the "national debt clock" as an example of the nation's out-of-control spending. The clock is a running total of the amount of money the country borrows ($4 billion a day) to pay for everything from soldiers to streets, and reducing that number is one of Ryan's top priorities.

Ryan says he blames President Barack Obama for the nation's $16 trillion debt.

"The President came into office saying he would cut the deficit in half in his first term. He's given us four years of trillion dollar deficits," Ryan said.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin -- the number two Democrat in the Senate and the senior senator from neighboring Illinois says Ryan is partially responsible.

"Every time he hears a ticking of the debt clock, he ought to ask himself, 'why didn't I vote for Simpson-Bowles?'  Paul Ryan voted against the bipartisan plan to reduce the deficit," Sen. Durbin said.

The Simpson-Bowles Commission is a bipartisan panel created by President Obama in February of 2010 to find ways to reduce the debt. The panel came up with a plan for spending cuts and tax increases, and President Obama spoke in support of it.

Ryan, who was a member of the panel, voted rejected the plan. The plan ended up getting only 38 votes in the GOP-controlled House.

"When President Obama came into office, he did inherit a tough situation.  The problem is he made things worse," Ryan said.

"The solution is clear: we are facing this cliff December 31st. We've got to come up with an approach that keeps this economy going -- not just spending cuts, but revenue as well," Sen. Durbin said.

Ryan's appearance in Waukesha Monday came on the heels of a Sunday fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson in Milwaukee. Ryan met Vice President Joe Biden on the debate stage Thursday, after which Biden headed to La Crosse for a rally on Friday. 

Ryan next heads to Ohio -- a state viewed as critical to the Romney-Ryan strategy. No Republican has ever won the White House without also winning Ohio.