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Paul Ryan Seeks to Re-Frame Election as Left Versus Right

The house speaker will try to persuade voters to forget about the "ugliness" of the current race and focus on left versus right differences.
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during the 1st Congressional District Republican Party of Wisconsin Fall Fest on Oct. 8, 2016 at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan will attack Hillary Clinton’s agenda as "arrogant, condescending and paternalistic" in a speech Friday seeking to frame the election as a "debate between two governing philosophies" — rather than the nasty, personal battle between Clinton and Donald Trump it’s become.

"Beneath all the ugliness lies a long-running debate between two governing philosophies: one that is in keeping with our nation’s founding principles — like freedom and equality — and another that seeks to replace them," Ryan will say, according to advance excerpts of the speech he plans to deliver in Madison, Wisconsin, Friday afternoon.

The speaker will warn that "the Left does not just seek a continuation of the last eight years … they intend to make it into a reality — an arrogant, condescending, and paternalistic reality."

And he’ll argue Clinton’s campaign slogan — "Stronger Together" — amounts to a case for government dependence and control.

"What she means is, we are stronger if we are all subject to the state. What she means is, we are stronger if we give up our ties of responsibility to one another and hand all of that over to government," Ryan plans to say.

"What she means is, we are stronger if we are all subject to the state."

"But there is no strength in that. Only hubris. Only the arrogance to assume we are better off if we fall in line and bow down to our betters."

The speech is yet another attempt by Ryan to refocus an election that’s gone wildly off the rails as Trump this week lashed out at both Democrats and Republicans — even Ryan himself — for what he says is a conspiracy against him. That’s how Trump has explained the flurry of sexual assault allegations he’s faced this week, prompted by the release of a 2005 tape of a private conversation in which he bragged about groping women against their will.

Related: Donald Trump Sees Shadowy 'Conspiracy' Behind Female Accusers

That video sparked an exodus of GOP support from the nominee over the weekend, culminating in Ryan telling Republican lawmakers Monday that while he still plans to vote for the GOP nominee, he won’t defend or campaign with him.

Instead, Ryan said he’d focus all of his energies on electing Republicans down-ballot. His speech Friday — along with a policy-oriented speech he gave the day before — appears to be part of that effort, as the speaker is attempting to build a more positive, substantive image of the GOP that may appeal to Republican voters turned off by Trump.