“Right,” the governor responded.
“And you and I are going to do that?” Ryan asked.
Moments later, Ryan took the microphone at his first solo event as the GOP vice presidential candidate — and then endured demonstrators shouting him down for the duration of his speech and two women climbing over bales of hay in an attempt to storm the stage. It became clear that breath issues would be the least of his concerns.
After Ryan’s first week in the vice presidential spotlight, it is starting to become more apparent how the Mitt Romney campaign plans to use Ryan on the campaign trail: everywhere and anywhere. The campaign seems willing to deploy the Wisconsin congressman to any battleground state, including Florida, where on Saturday he delivered an at times deeply personal address that appeared intended to quell doubts among the state’s many seniors about his proposal to overhaul Medicare.
“Our plan does not affect the benefits for people who are in or near retirement,” Ryan, who had brought his 78-year-old mother along, told the crowd at the sprawling central Florida retirement community known as the Villages. “It’s a promise that was made, and it’s a promise that must be kept.
“But in order to make sure we can guarantee that promise for my mom’s generation, for those baby boomers that are retiring every day, we must reform it for my generation.”
Ryan has visited almost every swing state in the past week: Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Florida.
In that time, there have been several unexpected developments, including Ryan’s emerging role as something other than the typical vice presidential campaign attack dog. He and Romney appear to have reversed roles in that regard.
As the two White House hopefuls went their separate ways on the trail last week, both talked about offering “solutions.”
But it’s largely fallen to Ryan to drive home that message to voters in a positive way, speaking in terms of forging a “covenant” and of “deserving victory” as he did in Oxford, Ohio, or pledging to supporters at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas that the Republican ticket is not just about opposing Obama.
“You see, we’re not going to go to people in this country and say, ‘The other guy is so bad that you have to vote for me by default,’” he told the crowd, to applause.
If there was a candidate who showed flashes of anger last week, it was Romney. Just as Ryan was addressing the Las Vegas crowd Tuesday night, Romney was several states away in Ohio, where
he forcefully decried
Obama’s “campaign of division and anger and hate.”
It’s also become clear during Ryan’s first week on the trail that in comparison with some of the others who were on the vice presidential shortlist, the Wisconsin congressman does not talk much about his own biography on the stump.