BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Paul Ryan on Friday night returned to the same city, if not the same venue, where Mitt Romney made his "47 percent" remarks -- and introducing him at the event was the private equity manager who hosted the May fundraiser where Romney uttered those now-infamous words.
Marc J. Leder took the stage ahead of Ryan at the St. Andrews Country Club here at 5 p.m. and rallied a group of about 100 assembled donors around the GOP vice presidential nominee.
There was no mention of the "47 percent," the percentage of Americans who pay no income tax and who Romney dismissed at the $50,000-a-plate private fundraiser this spring as "dependent on government" and not desiring to take responsibility for their own lives.
Rather, Leder -- a Sun Capital co-founder and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner who has a reputation for hosting wild parties, according to the New York Post -- focused his brief remarks on praising the Romney-Ryan ticket.
"Now, I've known Mitt Romney for a long time, but I'm really just starting to get to know Congressman Ryan -- which is good news for all of you, because I really don't have any remarks," Leder told the crowd at the $2,500-per-person general reception, poking fun at himself for being long-winded.
He thanked some of the two-dozen hosts of the fundraiser, including Ambassadors Ned Siegel and John Rood, and noted that it was "my fourth or fifth one in the last four years."
"What I've been most impressed by is everyone's work at the campaign. ... All the volunteers, all the paid team that Mitt has put together, right to the last one, has been absolutely incredible," he said. "And among other reasons, that's why I'm convinced Mitt and Paul are going to win this election.
The general reception was open to the press, but two other parts of the event -- a $25,000-per-person dinner at a private residence and a $10,000 photo reception -- were closed-door affairs.
The fundraiser is part of a Florida swing by the GOP ticket; Romney is expected to headline a fundraiser of his own on Saturday.
Ryan, who was wearing a dark suit, spoke for less than four minutes at the event. He was joined by his cousin, Wills, who was among the co-hosts and who he told the crowd had moved down to the Boca Raton area along with his Uncle Bill in the 1980s "to bring a version of Ryan Incorporated, the family earth-moving business, here. They've been very successful ever since.
He stressed to the crowd the importance of a "great ground game."
"That's what I want to leave with you, is it makes an enormous difference, because we have to have a very effective ground game to get people to the polls," he said. "There's no substitute for human-to-human interaction. There's a blizzard of TV ads; that has some effect, of course. But it's no substitute for a person picking up the phone, or a person going door to door, talking to one of their neighbors."
Rodger Krouse, Leder's Sun Capital co-CEO, also spoke ahead of Ryan.
"To quote Mitt, we recognize that we are all children of the same God. ... In my experience, people in this country from all walks of life want what's best for America and are willing to sacrifice," he said. "There really is no us, there really is no them, and neither party is completely in the right."