Ryan begins 11th-hour campaign bid to Pennsylvania voters

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- Flanked by his party's top state officials, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan asked a packed crowd Saturday to help ensure that he and Mitt Romney are victorious on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin congressman told supporters that the election is about choosing the candidate who has offered serious solutions to the nation's problems, citing the still-ailing economy as key evidence against President Barack Obama.

Mr. Ryan also seized upon a remark the president made Friday in Ohio when voters booed a mention of Mr. Romney, to which Mr. Obama replied that "voting is the best revenge."

"He then appealed to our highest aspirations," Mr. Ryan said of Mr. Obama's campaign message in 2008. "Today, he is appealing to our lowest fears."

The campaign stop next to the Harrisburg International Airport was Mr. Ryan's second of the day, starting in Ohio and trekking to Virginia and Florida later today.

It comes as Pennsylvania is receiving increased attention from both presidential campaigns. The two sides have spent millions on last-minute ads in this state after assuming for months that the commonwealth was solidly in the Obama column.

The final flurry of campaign activity will include a Bucks County stop today by Mr. Romney, as well as several Monday appearances by Democratic former President Bill Clinton.

"Really, it's a fresh market for Romney coming in at the end," U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, told reporters Saturday. "I think Pennsylvania is going to be a surprise victory."

Joining Mr. Ryan on stage were Gov. Tom Corbett, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey -- who roomed with Mr. Ryan during his first stint in Congress -- and former Gov. Tom Ridge, along with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Mr. Ryan's wife and children.

Mr. Corbett carried the message that Pennsylvania not only is geographically the Keystone State but also will be "the keystone state to this election."

Mr. Ridge cited Mr. Romney's "political courage" as shown by selecting a vice president who has proposed a plan for dealing with the country's fiscal problems.

Mr. Ryan pointed to the national unemployment and poverty rates as indications that the president's polices have not worked. He repeated the Republican ticket's message of less spending and more support for businesses.

"If the borrowing and spending and regulating and taxing and all of his money-printing had worked, we would have known by now," he said, drawing some chuckles from the audience.

He added: "We have a jobs crisis. Wouldn't it be nice to actually have a job-creator in the White House for a change?"

As rally-goers trickled into the airplane hanger, Marian Pike, 60, said she voted for Mr. Obama in 2008, when she was concerned about the amount of money being spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since then, the resident of suburban Philadelphia said she thinks the Obama administration hasn't done what the president said it would.

"All the promises that he made, he didn't keep them," said Mrs. Pike as she sat with her husband, Will.

Elsewhere in the crowd, Arlen Lenker, 73, said he has been frustrated by not seeing the economy improving and watching neighbors continue to struggle to find work.

"I think he's going to get us on the right track," the retired railroad worker said of Mr. Romney. "We saw what Obama did the last four years. It's time to try something new."


Harrisburg Bureau chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254. First Published November 4, 2012 4:00 AM


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