Paul Ryan, wheels down in Tampa

August 28, 2012

TAMPA -- Paul Ryan has arrived in Tampa -- and making the journey with him to the GOP convention are nearly a dozen family members.

Traveling with him from his hometown of Janesville were his mother, Betty Douglas; his wife, Janna, and their three young children; Janna's father, Dan Little; Ryan's brother, Tobin, and his sister-in-law, Oakleigh, as well as their two children.


(Mary Altaffer/AP)

The flight cabin was buzzing with activity during the two-and-a-half-hour flight, and family members and campaign staffers mingled with each other. 

Ryan was seen at front huddling with aides, at work on his convention speech; unlike on previous journeys, he did not venture to the back of the plane to chat with reporters. 

At one point on the flight, Ryan's mother, wife and sister-in-law were gathered in the aisle chatting with each other and with aides; at another, Ryan's Washington-based chief of staff, Joyce Meyer, and senior adviser Dan Senor made their way from the front of the plane to chat with some of Ryan's relatives.

Ryan makes his debut on the convention stage Wednesday night. Aides on Tuesday declined to preview the speech, advising only that Ryan's Monday remarks at a campaign rally at his high school alma mater gave a sneak peak of his remarks.

The convention isn't just a big political moment for Ryan. It will also mark a shift in how the candidate makes his way from event to event around the country, a logistical transition from one phase of the campaign to the next.

Ryan and his entourage have flown on the same jet since Romney's VP announcement more than two weeks ago. But after the GOP convention, Ryan will be flying with a crew and on a different plane, one that is wrapped with the Romney-Ryan logo.

As Ryan boarded his MD-83 charter jet in Janesville for the last time, the moment had the feeling of a fond farewell as well as an the start of a new adventure. Ryan and his wife took a photo together with members of the flight crew and chatted with them for a few minutes on the tarmac. 

Then, his children bounded onto the plane, and Ryan and his wife followed.

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