NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — His selection just hours old, Republican Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, was already tearing into President Barack Obama‘s “record of failure.”

Moving into a role as Romney’s chief attack dog, Ryan declared Saturday that the nation under Obama’s leadership is struggling through the “worst economic recovery in 70 years.”

“No one disputes President Obama inherited a difficult situation,” Ryan said in prepared remarks released by the Romney campaign. “And, in his first two years, with his party in complete control of Washington, he passed nearly every item on his agenda. But that didn’t make things better.”

The seven-term congressman is blaming Obama for the nation’s unemployment rate that has exceeded 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression.

“Families are hurting,” Ryan said.

He spoke in remarks prepared for delivery at the first public appearance of the new GOP ticket.

Ryan, the architect of a controversial Republican budget plan, is promising not to “duck the tough issues.” And he says he has the courage to tell the truth.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.