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Dems acknowledge Paul Ryan gave an effective performance

TAMPA, Fla. — Democrats are acknowledging GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave an effective performance Wednesday even as they launch an all out assault on his honesty.

“He played the role of vice presidential attack dog. I think he did it very well,” said President Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on Thursday.

But Cutter also criticized Ryan, saying his "lies" and "vitriol" are not what the American people deserve. 

“He can deliver a plan that will be bad for America and do it with a smile,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who has sparred with Ryan for years in the House Budget Committee.

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“I believe Paul Ryan’s family’s story is compelling. It’s a wonderful story … I think all of us were touched by it and we should be,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.

At the same time, Durbin suggested Ryan should also lose credibility with voters for playing with facts in the speech.

“But look at what happened next. The speechwriters came in the room and said we want you to say Barack Obama closed the GM plant in Janesville. He should have stopped them and said that isn’t true,” Durbin said.

Democrats say the GM plant mentioned by Ryan actually closed in December 2008, under President George W. Bush’s watch. Republicans say the plant was placed in “stand by,” meaning it could be reopened but was not during Obama’s presidency.

Van Hollen said Ryan tried to hide the details of the GOP ticket’s economic plans and that his attack on Obama for “ignoring” the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit plan that he himself voted against was “mind-boggling.”

“I was very disappointed. They said that they want to start an adult conversation, but we got no details of their budget plans and instead got a lot of misinformation about President Obama’s record,” he said. “The speech was a three-alarm alert for fact checkers.”

Ryan’s speech has been hailed by Republicans, and has won comparisons to an address by vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin four years ago that brought the GOP convention house down.