Updated 11:10 pm ET, 11/16/2013
(CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan made a rousing return to Iowa on Saturday night in a speech that slammed Obamacare and stirred 2016 speculation.
The Wisconsin Republican and former vice presidential nominee was the keynote speaker at a birthday fundraiser for Gov. Terry Branstad in Altoona, Iowa. The appearance was his first in the state that will have the country's first presidential caucus since the 2012 campaign.
"It's nice to be back and to see each and every one of you," Ryan said to a crowd of conservative activists, politicians and donors, recalling the months he and presidential candidate Mitt Romney spent on the ground there. "We didn't quite deliver. But on behalf of Mitt and myself, thank you very much for everything you did."
Ryan, who was accompanied by his wife, Janna, also shared how much the couple and their three children enjoyed their time on the campaign trail, especially in the Hawkeye State.
"When I look back at this campaign and believe me, after this election, it was a tough loss, it was tough for all of us. We were in a funk for a good six months,” he added.
Reflecting on that loss, he argued that if the current problems with President Barack Obama’s signature health care law known as Obamacare were present then, there may have been a different outcome.
“We had to campaign against big government in theory - the rhetoric, the promises, the empty promises, like if you like your (health insurance) you can keep it," he said. "Here’s the difference now. We’ve got big government in practice. And what we are realizing is the results are nothing close to the rhetoric that was used to sell it. I wonder if people who know now what they know would rehire these people again."
"The next time you have a famous politician coming through Iowa, breezing through the towns, talking about big government, let’s be a little more skeptical," he added.
Throughout the nearly 20-minute speech, Ryan offered a mix of policy and 2012 autopsy. But, eventually, his critique of the Obama administration took center stage, and he tore into the Affordable Care Act, warning that it was causing "real harm to real people."
"This law is taking people and disrupting their lives. Millions of people are getting cancellation notices. Families are seeing their premiums go up," he said.
"Either they were being dishonest, or they were incompetent," he added, in reference to the administration. "Frankly, I don’t know which one is worse."
Beyond criticizing the White House, he pushed the GOP to be constructive, as well.
"We have to show the country that we are not just the opposition party, we're the proposition party," he said - a potential message on which to build a 2016 run.
And for all the antagonism, Ryan finally ended on a high note, literally - leading the audience in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" for Branstad.
As he should the head in the ground Democrats didn't even read the bill just pass it so we can see what's in it.
We need health care but not all of what's in Obamacare.
I for one don't want to pay for your insurance and mine too.
Hey Mr. Numbers man. Why don't you talk about the millions that it is already working for? And we all know your proposition of turning Medicare into a voucher program and we rejected it.
The GOP clown car just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
What does he offer? I can't think of anything other than a return to the problems that the Democrats tried to solve.
This loser couldn't even win his home town as Romney's running mate. Why anyone takes him seriously is beyond me.
Paul has to realize the country is changing. Many people need the opportunity to have health care, and there are many people with out health care. He implies, if you are not part of the Military Industrial Complex, you are out of luck with health care.
I remember Paul Ryan ... in regard to his support for cutting $39 billion over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutrition Support Program (SNAP) that feeds low-income children, seniors and the disabled. Sister Simone Campbell put it best in her testimony to the House Budget Committee hearing on July 31, 2013:
“SNAP is the most effective program we have with the least amount of waste, fraud and abuse,” Campbell said, adding that cutting it would be "morally wrong."
BTW, Paul and all the other Ayn Rand fanatics, here are some FACTS:
58 percent of households receiving SNAP have someone who is employed and in 82 percent of households on SNAP one of the family members finds work within a year.
Charities do what they can, but it's not enough. So please explain to me again, Paul, how cutting aid to those most vulnerable among us is good for our country – and somehow aligns with your supposed religious faith?
The Bible according to Paul Ryan and all the RWNJ:
And Jesus said unto them, "I got mine – screw you!"
It's easy to knock the Affordable healthcare Act when you have nothing else to offer .
The party of no new ideas , only criticism .
If the President had announced during the 2012 campaign that some people would lose their junk policies, he would have still won. Maybe if Romney had not made an ass of himself in England, flipped flopped all over every issue and had released his tax returns, the outcome might have been different. It's all speculation.
You ARE the opposition party. Remember the one term only meeting while the country celebrated in January of 2009?
You didn't move the twit's numbers one bit you are just another clown in the car of doom and gloom against everything Obama and good for the country.
What else is new , Ryan will never be president .
The GOP will lose for while they continue to take down Obamacare!! The affordable care act is a good law except that the website was poorly designed! Once it gets rolling it will help and benefit millions without good healthcare!!
GOP is gone to dogs. Pretty soon vanish into-to. It has NO ethics, no morality. Period.
What is wrong with Obamacare? Nothing. Is WMD? Is Halliburton? Is cayman Island?
Law never forces to cancel–GOP thugs Drama.
Ryan Ryan Ryan, i guest you still have that bitterness of the shellacking you and mitten got in the election huh. lesson folks, all the chaotic, mayhem, economic destructions, and budget explosion these repubs have been lying about just havent happened. hey how many Americans are living in reality folks, all i've seen since the obamacare inception, is the explosion of the stock markets, federal budget dropping like a hot potato, jobs creations month after month after month, home industry is back, the rich are richer than anytime in history, at least we are not losing 800,000 jobs a month and not facing a 9 percent economy retraction. when Obama first took over and stopped the economy and the country from rolling over the cliff, the country started growing at 4 and 5 percent a quarter, ever since the tea party take over in 2010 with their obstructionist policies, the country havent grown at 3 percent since. obamacare will help millions from bankruptcy, and tens of millions off the side of the road, and as the CBO said, it will cost 900 billion to kill obamacare and 1 trillion in savings if obamacare survives. hey Mr Ryan i thought you guys were looking to balance the budget.
We now know he will never be Vice President or President.
Why? Lyin Ryan couldn't even deliver Wisc for Mitt the twit.
I wonder if Ayn Ryan knows that tens on millions are getting better insurance at cheaper rates? I wonder why republicans insist on people paying for worthless junk policies? I wonder why the republicans do not have a plan of their own? Hell yes, I am skeptical of republicans!
What a crock of- . Lyin Ryan at the GOP bs again???? No republican will ever be elected president this century!!!!!
Surprise, Surprise. Republicans knocking Obamacare. You know what the Majority of Americans hate more than Obamacare, TPers!!!
The Affordable Care Act is in trouble because it was not radical enough. It was an ill conceived compromise to appease Republicans and the Health Care Industry. A single payer national health care system should have been adopted. A health care system found to be successful in Canada and United Kingdom.
These young lads who want to become Presidents are missing wisdom. I do not blame them much as wisdom come with experience and time. Knocking Obamacare is not a wise thing to do now. Trust me, this Obamacare is going to turn out to be a remarkable and a good stuff to the nation. They shouldn't underestimate how lucky the President has been and he will continue to be. We have witnessed many times what big tests he overcame.
So who are all these people that really love their "don't get sick" insurance? Who is it that really loves to pay for these junk policies and wants to maintain them? I'm sure the insurance companies really don't mind selling them to suckers....