By Vicki Needham - 09/30/12 02:30 PM EDT
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will argue in the first debate that President Obama has taken the nation in the wrong direction and the GOP is offering the best choice for voters, Paul Ryan said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
The Wednesday debate will showcase "who is Mitt Romney, what kind of president will he be and what choice do I have," he said.
"Then the country understands the choice they have to make."
With only 37 days to the election, polls are leaning in President Obama's favor, especially in key battleground states such as Ohio and Florida, meaning Romney will need a dynamic performance to swing the momentum to his campaign.
"First of all, the polls are close, this is going to be a close race," Ryan said.
"Second we're running against an incumbent president with incredible resources. But more importantly, I don't think one event is going to make or break this campaign."
Ryan called Obama a "very gifted speaker" who has been on the national stage for many years and who is an experienced debater, while "this is Mitt's first time on this kind of a stage."
Ryan brushed off questions that Republicans have shifted from a referendum on Obama's policies to giving voters a choice between the candidates’ policies.
"The president is trying to paper over his problems and mislead and distort the record. It's a failed record," Ryan said.
"At this phase of the campaign, we want people to know it doesn't have to be this way. We can get the country back on track," he said.
"Mitt Romney is offering leadership and policies and principles to do that."
The first debate is expected to focus on domestic policy, where Obama has battled amid an unemployment rate persistently north of 8 percent and anemic economic growth.
Obama has built the lead in the polls by distracting voters from the issues, Ryan said.
"He's very good at distracting people. He can't run on hope and change anymore, so he's running on division, distraction on distortion to try to win an election by default," Ryan said.
"What we give is a clear choice, policies that will help boost the economy and show the country here's what we need to do."
On tax policy, Ryan pushed back that the GOP plan to cut rates by 20 percent would cost $5 trillion over 10 years.
Instead, the policy would be revenue-neutral and create 7 million jobs, Ryan said.
"In the final analysis, the president will offer more of same, but with another round of stimulus and higher taxes on job creators," Ryan said.