Paul Ryan headlined one of his biggest fundraisers to date Thursday night, pulling in an estimated $1.2 million from 325 donors at the Ramada Oasis Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield, Mo.
Tickets for the general reception started at $1,000, with VIP photos with the GOP vice presidential candidate going for $2,500, and private reception tickets ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.
Among the Show-Me State Republicans who attended: former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft; Sen. Roy Blunt; former senator Kit Bond; Reps. Billy Long, Jo Ann Emerson and Blaine Luetkemeyer; gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence; and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
Not present in the crowd: Todd Akin, the embattled GOP congressman facing calls from his party to drop his Missouri Senate bid after claiming in a TV interview that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy. Akin is reportedly in Tampa huddling with a social conservative group, the Council for National Policy.
Ryan told the crowd that “a handful of states will determine this [election], a handful – and Missouri is one of them.” He made no mention of the Akin controversy.
One topic about which Ryan spoke at length was welfare reform, an issue on which the Romney campaign has sought to hammer President Obama in recent weeks. Republicans have argued that the Obama administration has sought to water down welfare-to-work requirements, a claim that nonpartisan fact-checkers say is false.
“President Obama passed this new waiver the other day to strip out all the welfare reform work requirements," Ryan told the crowd. "I served on the committee overseeing this for a number of years and in Wisconsin we pioneered this. When people are on welfare, you get them job training, get their kids daycare, get them back to work, move them from welfare to work -- it's good for them. It gets them on a path to prosperity, helps get them dignified lives, it gets them out of poverty.”
Obama’s plan, he argued, “drains them of their incentive and will to make the most of their lives.”