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Uneasy Trump ally Ryan says GOP beats Clinton in the 'contest of ideas'

CLEVELAND— Paul Ryan, at times an uneasy ally of Donald Trump, said Tuesday that the Republican ticket offers a "better way" for the United States than Hillary Clinton.

The Republican House speaker warned of the ramifications of electing Clinton and what he called the "politically correct moralizing" of the Democratic Party. He offered ringing support for a conservative agenda, even one led by presidential nominee Trump, with whom he has clashed in the past.

"It's the last chapter of an old story: Progressives deliver everything except progress," Ryan said at the Republican National Convention here to applause. "Yet we know better than most. We know better than to think that Republicans can win only on the failures of Democrats. It still comes down to the contest of ideas. Which is really good news, ladies and gentlemen, because when it's about ideas, the advantage goes to us."

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan delivers a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan delivers a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

The party and Ryan, the convention's chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee, have grappled with doubts about the bombastic Trump. Ryan, the country's top elected Republican, waited more than a month to endorse Trump when he became the GOP's presumptive nominee.

Even when Ryan said he would vote for Trump in June, he did so with qualifications. Ryan said it was "no secret" that he and Trump had their differences, and he would "speak (his) mind" when he felt the need to.

On Tuesday, Ryan contended those disagreements show a party that has not become complacent.

"We Republicans have made our choice. Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have. You know what I call those? Signs of life," Ryan said.

Ryan also called out what he deemed division of identities by the Democratic Party. In response to Ryan's claims that the GOP is the party of equality, the Clinton campaign said it was not, "according to (its) anti-woman, anti-LGBT, anti-immigrant" platform.


Ryan has balanced supporting his party's nominee with rebuking some of his more divisive remarks. Ryan called out Trump in June following his suggestion that a judge in the Trump University case was biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

"I regret those comments that he made. Claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed," Ryan said then, without walking back his endorsement of Trump.

Ryan said Tuesday that he plans to stand behind Trump and Pence despite their past clashes.

"Next time there's a State of the Union address, I don't know where (Vice President) Joe Biden and (President) Barack Obama will be," Ryan said. "But you'll find me right there on the rostrum with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump."

Ryan contended that voters from both parties "undeniably" want a "clean break from a failed system." Clinton offers only a continuation of the Obama administration, Ryan argued to loud boos from the Quicken Loans Arena crowd.

His call for unity came a day after the party effectively shut down efforts to stop Trump's nomination on the convention floor.