FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- At a campaign rally two hours before the start of the second presidential debate, GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan told a boisterous crowd Tuesday night that President Obama will "try to distract this country" while Mitt Romney's leadership will be on display at the Hofstra University face-off.
"When we go home this evening, we'll go turn on our TV, and we will watch the debate," Ryan told the crowd at the Fredericksburg Expo and Convention Center, where he was flanked by a Jumbotron, a ticking debt clock and a huge blue banner reading, "We need a real recovery."
"And we will receive a choice," he continued. "Put aside the hundreds of millions of dollars of distortion on TV, the clutter. You see, the president can't run on his record. He can't run on his broken promises. And so as a result, hope and change has become attack, defame and blame -- anger and frustration. He's going to try to divide this country. He's going to try to distract this country. He's going to keep trying to distort Mitt Romney's record in order to try and win this election by default. And we won't fall for it, will we?"
Several audience members said that they expect to see a more aggressive Obama than at the first debate in Denver earlier this month.
"I definitely expect Barack Obama to get riled up a little bit," said Adam Miller, a 20-year-old UXO technician who was wearing a Superman T-shirt. He said that while he would like to see some more specifics from Romney and Ryan regarding their plans for jump-starting the economy, "I don't know if you can argue for Barack Obama's record."
Tom Balfour, an 80-year-old retired shipbuilder from South Stafford, said that Obama will likely come out swinging against Romney. But he doesn't expect the same type of performance from the president as Vice President Joe Biden delivered last week in Danville, Ky.
"It was like a college debate," Balfour said of last week's vice-presidential face-off, at which Biden frequently interrupted and laughed at Ryan.