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Wednesday
Oct312012

Six Days from Election Day, Paul Ryan Pauses to Trick or Treat with Kids

Liza Ryan trick-or-treating on Halloween as Katy Perry in Janesville, Wisc., Oct. 31, 2012. (Pool Photo)(JANESVILLE, Wis.) -- Paul Ryan combined the campaign trail with dad duty Wednesday evening, taking his three young children trick or treating on Halloween using the same route he and his brothers took as children in their hometown.

His 10-year-old daughter, Liza, was dressed as singer Katy Perry, while Ryan's 9-year-old son Charlie was the Unknown Phantom, and 7-year-old Sam was the Grim Reaper.

Liza - -dressed as a G-rated version of the famous Obama supporter who recently performed at a fundraiser for the president -- wore the performer's signature blue hair, a rainbow headband and outfit to match inspired from the pop singer's always-colorful wardrobe.

Charlie got into the spirit and dressed as a frightful ghoul wearing a red cape and black mask, while his brother Sam wore a white skeleton's mask, and a black cape. He couldn't hold his candy and the Grim's Reaper's scythe, so his dad and GOP vice presidential candidate was stuck toting it.

Four years ago, Sarah Palin also celebrated Halloween with her young children, taking them trick or treating on the campaign trail in Harrisburg, Pa. Daughter Piper dressed as a snow princess.

Ryan, who was costume-less, was dressed in his Wisconsin Badger Red North Face jacket with matching hat, while his wife Janna wore a witch's hat. Ryan had niece Zaydee May, dressed as a butterfly, in toe with her mom Zoe, who are both visiting from China. Zoe is married to Ryan's older brother Stan who was recently on the campaign trail with the Wisconsin congressman.

The group trick or treated on Jefferson Avenue, where Ryan and his two brothers used to ask for treats themselves.

"This was the route I did when I was kid. I did this route every day, every Halloween when I was a kid. And the kids do the same one," Ryan told reporters who were invited to cover part of the festivities.

The only talk of politics was when a reporter asked Ryan about recent polls that show him down in Wisconsin, but he wouldn't answer, saying, "We're not doing questions."

A new poll out Wednesday from Marquette University Law School shows a lead for the president in Wisconsin with Obama at 51 percent to Romney with 43 percent.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post Tracking poll out Wednesday has the race tied nationally, with both Romney and Obama at 49 percent support.

Usually the Ryan kids are in school and off the campaign trail, but when they are out they tend to lighten the mood of the campaign when they travel with their parents.

The outgoing trio love to orange bowl on the plane and advise over the intercom when the campaign plane is about to land.

The youngest, Sam, even came back and visited with reporters who cover his father's campaign day in and day out earlier this month. After a few questions from the inquisitive press, Ryan's spokesperson came back with a smile on his face and jokingly ended the back and forth with an "OK, last question."

Sam is also the Ryan who could be seen sitting in Joe Biden's seat with a huge smile on his face after his dad finished his final debate against his opponent.

Of course, it wasn't just the family getting into the spirit of things Wednesday evening.

Ryan's personal aide, Jake Kastan, proved to be incredibly loyal and went beyond the call of duty dressing in a yellow chicken costume for the three kids, who affectionately call him "chicken butt."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct302012

Paul Ryan Balances Storm Relief with Politics Just Seven Days Out

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(La Crosse, Wis.) -- Paul Ryan cancelled three events in the battleground state of Colorado on Tuesday to thank volunteers in his home state of Wisconsin who were distributing goods for people affected by superstorm Sandy.

But that doesn’t mean the campaign disappeared.

It’s a tricky job the GOP vice presidential nominee has, of scrubbing official political events but still wanting to express empathy and not look overly political to the millions suffering from Sandy’s wrath -- and getting local coverage of the photo op critical to viewers in swing states who may still be making up their mind. Mitt Romney, in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, faced the same delicate balance.

At his first stop Tuesday, just hours after Sandy slammed into the Eastern seaboard leaving billions of dollars in destruction and at least 35 people dead, Ryan thanked volunteers who were waving Romney/Ryan signs and gathering canned goods, water and other non-perishable items to be driven to New Jersey.

Along with wife Janna and brother Tobin, he shook hands and said, “This is what Americans do.”

“We’ve got a lot of our fellow Americans in the Northeast who are hurting right now,” Ryan said. “Let’s keep the people who are suffering in our thoughts and prayers.”

Ryan noted that Romney has spoken to “governors in the area.” A Romney spokesperson said Monday that the GOP presidential nominee had been in contact with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Both are Republicans and surrogates on the trail, although Tuesday morning Christie poured praise on the president, saying he had done an “outstanding” job during Sandy.

Dressed in his red North Face jacket, Ryan asked volunteers not to, “forget about the Red Cross…They need donations. If you have the ability to give blood, that’s something else they need as well. So we just want to come and thank you for what they do in the victory center every day.”

A Ryan aide told reporters the Wisconsin congressman had donated to Red Cross at some point Monday night or Tuesday.

In signs of how politics still raised its head Tuesday, Ryan was joined by Wisconsin senate candidate and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson as well as Wisconsin native Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus. And the Romney campaign sent out a press release announcing Ryan's arrival at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, a 30-minute drive from the vice presidential candidate’s second stop of the day in Hudson, Wis. The brief walk off the plane from Ryan will be on local news channels in Minnesota, a state ABC News just downgraded Monday from "safe" for the president to "lean Obama."

Minneapolis Tuesday also witnessed an appearance by Obama’s "explainer-in-chief," former president Bill Clinton, who made a strong case for Obama’s re-election in an address met by loud cheers at the University of Minnesota.

Both campaigns are advertising there. As of last Friday, the Obama campaign had placed a $511,000 television ad buy on broadcast stations in Minneapolis for 12 days -- Oct. 27 through Nov. 6 -- according to a source tracking spending on the airwaves. The Romney campaign also went up on the air in the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market, reserving time from last Saturday through Tuesday. Ad tracking sources say that buy was small -- $30,000 -- and marked the first time Romney has placed ads in Minnesota during the general election.

At the event, Ryan was also asked about his House-passed budget proposal, which suggested $11 billion for “Community and Regional Development,” a government function that includes FEMA and disaster relief. The president’s was $19 billion. It’s not possible to say exactly how much of those cuts would be directed at FEMA since the budget proposal is a broad outline, but when asked about it at the LaCrosse campaign office, Ryan didn’t answer, ignoring the question.

Ryan’s spokesperson Michael Steel said, "There are no FEMA cuts in the House-passed budget."

“And if you are comparing this to the president’s budget, I would note it got zero votes in the House or Senate,” Steel zinged.

Steel would not comment on Romney’s statement at a 2011 debate, in which Romney said he’d like to see more of the responsibility of relief efforts put to the states rather than the federal government, something Romney himself also wouldn’t comment on at a similar event in Ohio on Tuesday.

Another Ryan spokesperson, Brendan Buck, said Ryan does support federal assistance for disasters and called the issue nothing more than politics.

“Paul Ryan believes providing aid to victims of natural disasters is a critical obligation and should be treated as a high priority within a fiscally responsible budget,” Buck said. “It’s sad that some see these heartbreaking events as opportunities to distort his record and play politics. A Romney-Ryan administration will always ensure that disaster funding is there for those in need. Period.”

Ryan returns to true campaigning Wednesday with a three-stop tour of Wisconsin on Wednesday. He will end the day in his hometown of Janesville to spend Halloween trick or treating with his three young children.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct292012

Biden, Clinton Campaign in Ohio as Obama Monitors Hurricane Sandy

John Moore/Getty Images(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) – While Hurricane Sandy punished the East Coast, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton stayed on the campaign trail Monday, speaking at the Covelli Center in Youngstown, Ohio Monday afternoon. President Obama canceled his campaign appearances for Monday and Tuesday to monitor the hurricane from Washington.

“Folks, I know you were expecting the real president, the present president. Reverend, I just want you to know he asked me to express his regrets for not being able to be here, but you know, he’s doing the job a president should be doing,” Biden told the crowd of 4,800 at the Covelli Center.

“I want to thank all the first responders throughout this country,” he said. "They’re coming from all over. There’s folks from Ohio heading east. There’s a whole lot of folks all over the country. And it’s further evidence, further evidence that when America stands together we’re all better off.”

The campaign later announced that Biden’s two events in Ohio Tuesday and a rally in his hometown of Scranton, Pa. were canceled, bringing the number of events canceled for Hurricane Sandy to 30.

Clinton, in Ohio, apologized on Obama’s behalf.

“We went to Florida last night, and he got up this morning and called me and said, ‘I got to go back right now. This storm’s getting out of hand. I got to handle it.’ And I said, 'Mr. President, that is the right call,’” Clinton said. “I spoke in Orlando and then I got on a plane and flew through the edges of that storm to come here and be with Vice President Biden, who came to join us.”

Biden and Clinton, campaigning together for the first time this election cycle, did not let up on their attacks on the GOP ticket, furthering the criticism of Mitt Romney for a misleading campaign ad suggesting President Obama allowed Jeep operations to move to China. President Clinton called Romney’s ad, “the biggest load of bull.”

“I saw the reports of Governor Romney’s latest ad saying that the president had allowed Jeep to move to China. And so this morning, before he left Florida and went back to Washington, he said, ‘You know, of all the things Governor Romney has said, that probably hurts my feelings the most,” Clinton said. “He said, you know, 'I never had any money when I was a kid and the first new car I ever owned, I was 30 years old, and it was a Jeep. I would never move Jeep to China.'"

“Now it turns out, Jeep is reopening in China because they’ve made so much money here, they can afford to do it and they are going on with their plans here. They put out a statement today saying it was the biggest load of bull in the world that they would ever consider shutting down their American operations. They are roaring in America, thanks to people like the people of Ohio.”

“This guy is -- pirouettes more than a ballerina,” Biden said. “It’s an absolutely, patently false assertion.”

However, a BloombergBusinessweek.com story published Monday floated the idea Jeep production may very well be moving to Italy. After the auto bailout, the Treasury Department sold its share of Chrysler to Fiat at a loss, and now as an attempt to boost Fiat's bottom line, the company reportedly discussed interest in a possible plan to build Jeeps in Italy for export to the U.S.

Biden undeterred, denied Jeep was going anywhere. “Ladies and gentlemen, have they no shame? I mean, what? Romney will say anything, absolutely anything to win, it seems. But he can’t run from the truth. He said in that article entitled, that he wrote, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" -- repeating an already-debunked but oft-repeated claim. The New York Times chose that headline. Still, Biden soldiered on, "Only the head of Bain Capital could think that liquidating an industry is the same thing as saving it. Because that’s what he did at Bain Capital,” Biden said. “Well look, we didn’t take Gov. Romney’s advice.”

Ryan Williams, spokesman for the Romney campaign, said in a statement, “It appears the Obama campaign is less concerned with engaging in a meaningful conversation about President Obama’s failed policies and more concerned with arguing against facts about their record they dislike. The American people will see their desperate arguments for what they are.”

Clinton has served as one of the Obama campaign’s top surrogates in the campaign, but the former president joked with the crowd about his frequent appearances on the trail, saying it’s only because his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is barred from campaigning.

“You’re only stuck with me because Hillary has one of the two jobs in the government that doesn’t permit you to campaign,” Clinton said. “But when you reach a certain point in your life you realize elections come and go but the only thing that really matters when all is said and done is whether people are better off from when you started, whether our children have a brighter future, and whether things are coming together instead of being torn apart.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct292012

Ryan Cancels Events, Tells Florida Voters to Keep Their Northern Neighbors in Their Prayers

Steve Pope/Getty Images(FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla.) -- At his only event of the day Monday after the other two were canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, Paul Ryan began his rally in this storm-prone state asking the crowd of about 2,000 to send their, “prayers and our thoughts to the people in the Northeast.” Wearing his red North Face jacket on a windy day, Ryan said, “Look, Floridians, you are no stranger to big storms. You know better than anyone on the need for communities to come together and for neighbors to help one another.”

Ryan was introduced by former congressman and current Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, and the GOP vice presidential nominee noted Putnam told him how this state is already helping those currently feeling Sandy’s wrath. “As we were driving over here, Adam was telling me about the hundreds of Floridians, about the hundreds of utilities crews that left just today from Florida to go to the Northeast,” Ryan said. “Thank God for men and women like that. Thank you for sending your people. That’s what we do for each other in this country.”

Five of Ryan’s events have been canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, two in Florida on Monday and three in Colorado on Tuesday. In total between Ryan, Romney, and Ann Romney the campaign has been forced to scrap 15 events, not just because some were in areas that are affected, but to be cautious not to look too political when millions of Americans are in the dangerous storm’s path up and down the Eastern seaboard.

The president was also forced to cancel events, returning to Washington DC earlier Monday instead of campaigning in Florida. Between the two campaigns, 32 events were either changed or canceled in total.

Instead of campaigning Monday and Tuesday, Ryan will travel home to Janesville, Wis. Monday afternoon.

As his running mate did earlier Monday, he urged the crowd to donate to the Red Cross asking them to, “take a look at the Red Cross website” when they get home from the event.  “Think about donating to the Red Cross,” Ryan said. “We know how to help each other in this country. If you have friends and family in the path of the storm, make sure you call them. Make sure they listen to the warnings, make sure they check on their elderly neighbors.”

Ryan said he and Romney, “are staying in touch with regional leaders” impacted by the storm.

“We are offering assistance, we are collecting storm relief supplies in our field offices in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, up and down the Eastern Seaboard,” Ryan said.

Mitt Romney has been in touch with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, both Republicans and friends of Romney.

“Here at home, people are packaging supplies at our victory centers throughout Florida,” Ryan said. “Swing by, give a hand, you know firsthand what people are going to need. And so, since we all love this country, lets put our neighbors in the north in our prayers. Lets do what we need to do to help them get through…what is coming in their way -- and let's not forget the fact that this is the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

At the end of his short event he again thanked those gathered for “supporting the people in the Northeast who need our help, who need our prayers, who need our donations.”

He also reminded the audience to vote early, which began in this state two days ago, “so that you can help get people to the polls, so you can help the save your country.”

Ryan’s event wasn’t without politics though: He reminded voters in this critical battleground state that there is only eight more days until Election Day. “Mitt Romney and I can endure anything for eight more days, but we can’t take four more years,” Ryan said. “We can turn this around, we can do this, it is not too late to put our country on the right path, it is not too late to put the right reforms in place for a real recovery…in eight days each of us can look back at this moment as the time we stood, up, we fought for our country, we did what we needed to do to secure it for our current generation and our children’s generation.”

A new CNN/ORC Florida poll out Monday shows Obama and Romney within the margin of error in the Sunshine State, with Romney at 50 percent and Obama at 49.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

Paul Ryan Raising Cash in Red States 

Win McNamee/Getty Images(HUNTSVILLE, Ala.) – Only 11 days before Election Day, why is Paul Ryan visiting solidly red states like Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia?

It’s not for votes, but cash.

Despite Thursday’s announcement that the Romney campaign had $169 million cash on hand and there is limited air time left to buy in the battleground states, Ryan was fundraising Friday, making stops in Greenville, S.C., and Huntsville, Ala. This was the final money-hauling day on the GOP vice presidential nominee’s schedule, according to a Romney aide.

And haul they did, raising $1 million at an arena and concert hall Friday afternoon alone, according to Linda Maynor, a finance committee member.

Ryan also made a stop in Atlanta on Wednesday evening and was supposed to fundraise in Austin on Thursday, according to an invitation obtained by ABC News, but the campaign said Ryan would not be attending the event.

In Alabama, tickets ranged from $1,000 for the general reception, $5,000 for a photo with the House Budget Chairman, and a $25,000 donation or $50,000 raised for a ticket to the round table discussion with Ryan.

Ryan was joined by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and several members of the Alabama congressional delegation, and he noted the crowd “probably” doesn’t get to “see all the ads here, do you?”

“I’ve got to say, we’re in the home stretch here,” Ryan told the donors gathered at the Von Braun Center.  “We are very clear, very close, and the contrast could not be sharper. And what I want to do right now is to thank you for your generosity…. What you’re doing is you are helping us execute a campaign where, in these critical battleground states, we are giving the country what it deserves, which is the people of this nation get the right to make the choice about what kind of country they want to have.”

He made similar comments Wednesday evening in Atlanta where, unlike the ads that are drowning the airwaves from Florida to Virginia, Ohio to Colorado, Georgians aren’t exposed to them. Ryan even joked when explaining what the last-minute cash pays for.

“You probably don’t see a lot of the ads do you?” Ryan laughed at the event at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.

“What your help here today does is, it helps us see this through, it helps us get through the closing moments because there is so much clutter out there,” Ryan told the 600 donors.

Ryan added that the donations they are bringing in at the Southern events is used to “run through the tape and see it through the end.”

In Alabama Friday, he explained the late money in the campaign’s coffers “help us with what we call the ground game: mobilizing voters to get them to the polls. Historically, Republicans have not been as good at that. We’re getting a lot better.”

Ryan explained that the successful recalls in his home state of Wisconsin have taught Republicans “if you have a good ground game, if you get the choice into the hands of the voter they’ll make the right decision.”

“I really believe the feel on the ground, it feels like our recalls,” Ryan explained. “People are excited. People know we can do better than this. People know we can get back on top.”

He noted that red state Alabama voters are “not in what we call one of these battleground states because you have proven, dedicated principled leadership that’s not in question or in doubt.”

The Wisconsin Congressman said he used to call the Obama campaign’s attacks “the spaghetti strategy, throw something against the wall to see what sticks. Now he’s practicing the kitchen sink strategy, throw everything but the kitchen sink at us to try and win by default.”

Ryan’s Atlanta fundraiser Wednesday cost donors $500 for the general reception, $10,000 for a photograph with the congressman, and $25,000 for the roundtable. The donation price tags may sound staggering, but it’s standard fare for both Romney and Ryan fundraisers, as well as the high dollar events President Obama has had throughout his campaign. It was quite a contrast, though, for Ryan who earlier the same day gave a speech on eliminating poverty and upward mobility in the critical state of Cleveland.

Of course it is not just Republicans raising massive amounts of money, Obama has spent more time fundraising than any other incumbent president.

This campaign is on pace to break the $2 billion mark with the president already hitting $1 billion and Romney close behind, with $954 million, according to disclosures filed by the campaigns Thursday. This is the most expensive campaign in history because traditionally, a candidate was given a fixed amount of money to run with from the national conventions through Election Day.

That all changed, though, four years ago when Barack Obama broke his pledge to accept federal funding in order to raise the money himself. This time around neither candidate is using the public financing system. That coupled with the rise of the super PACs have turned the race for the White House to a campaign where candidates split their time between campaigning in the battleground states and pumping donors for cash all over the country. The birth of the superPAC gives wealthy donors the ability to give unlimited amounts to both sides for the first time.

Friday’s event in Alabama was the last one on the schedule for Ryan. Romney’s final fundraiser he would attend took place on Oct. 20 in Palm Beach, Fla. while Obama’s was on Oct. 11 in Miami.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

Romney Delivers Closing Argument, Touts Big Change

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(AMES, Iowa) – Mitt Romney delivered a closing argument in Iowa Friday, repackaging his familiar talking points into a prepared speech that promoted his idea of a “big change” election.

“This election is a choice, a choice between the status quo — going forward with the same policies of the last four years — or instead, choosing real change, change that offers promise, promise that the future will be better than the past,” said Romney, who delivered his remarks outside a construction company on a blustery, cold day in Central Iowa.

The speech was previewed by campaign aides as an opportunity for Romney to outline the “stark” economic job and policy differences between the Republican candidate and President Obama. And for a candidate who has stayed relentlessly on message since announcing his presidential campaign in the Spring of 2011, much of Romney’s remarks in Iowa Friday were identical to those made over the course of his campaign as he’s weaved in and out of swing states across the country.

“This election is about big things, like the education of our children, the value of our homes, the take home pay from our jobs, the price of the gasoline we buy and the choices we have in our health care,” Romney said. “It’s also about the big things that determine these things, like the growth of the economy, the strength of our military, our dependence on foreign oil and America’s leadership in the world.”

Romney placed particular emphasis on his promise to work across party lines if elected, telling the crowd that he would “work tirelessly to bridge the divide between the political parties.”

“The president’s campaign falls far short of the magnitude of these times. And the presidency of the last four years has fallen far short of the promises of the last campaign. Four years ago, America voted for a post-partisan president, but they have seen the most partisan and political of presidents, and a Washington in gridlock because of it,” said Romney.

Romney said that he and his running mate Paul Ryan would meet with Democratic and Republican leadership “regularly” if elected.

“We’re going to look for common ground and shared principles, and put the interests of the American people above the interests of the politician,” said Romney. “I know it because I’ve seen it. Good Democrats can come together with good Republicans to solve big problems. What we need is leadership to make that happen.”

The Obama campaign released a statement in response to Romney’s speech, saying that “True to form, Mitt Romney’s most recent ‘major policy speech’ included dishonest attacks and empty promises of change, but no new policy.”

“Romney has started promising ‘big change,’ but the only change Romney’s offering is to take us back to the same failed policies that crashed our economy in the first place,” wrote Lis Smith. “That’s not the change we need, and with every ‘major speech,’ Mitt Romney just reminds voters that’s all he’s got to offer.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

Meat Loaf Endorses Mitt Romney in Rocker’s First Political Endorsement Ever

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(DEFIANCE, Ohio) – Forget swing state newspapers and major politicians -- Mitt Romney Thursday night received a premium endorsement that nobody was expecting when rock legend Meat Loaf took the stage in Ohio and threw his support behind the Republican presidential nominee.

“I have never been in any political agenda in my life, but I think that in 2012 this is the most important election in the history of the United States,” Meat Loaf said in a black silk shirt with sparkly buttons down the front and sequined designs on the sleeves. “Storm clouds [have] come over the United States. There is thunderstorms over Europe. There are hail storms, and I mean major hail storms, in the Middle East.

“There are storms brewing through China, through Asia, through everywhere,” Meat Loaf said. “And there’s only one man that on the other night, when President Barack Obama, God bless him, said to Mitt Romney, ‘The Cold War is over’ – I have never heard such a thing in my life.”

The singer was referring to the presidential debate earlier this week, during which President Obama ribbed Romney for once declaring Russia America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe.

“The man needs to understand Putin and Russia, so I want you to know that there is one man who will stand tall in this country and fight the storm and bring the United States back to what it should be – Gov. Mitt Romney,” Meat Loaf said to roars from a crowd packed into a football stadium.

“Like I said, never before have I endorsed a single candidate ’til now, so let me hear y’all repeat after me,” Meat Loaf said, leading a call-and-response with Mitt Romney’s name, the crowd repeating it after him.

Meat Loaf wasn’t done. After playing a musical interlude, the musician grabbed the microphone and continued his endorsement.

“Mitt Romney has got the backbone,” he said. “Go out and vote. Let me tell you what: I know there’s one thing that you’ve been taught your whole life, is that you never argue politics or religion with your friends. But 2012 is completely different."

“I have been arguing for Mitt Romney for a year,” he said. “I made three phone calls today to Democrats in California, and I got two of them to switch to Romney, so two out of three ain’t bad. So you get out there and you argue with your relatives, you argue with your neighbors, you get in fights over politics and religion, 'cause we need Ohio! God bless ya. We love ya. Thank you. Keep rockin’ – and Mitt Romney!”

When Romney finally took the stage, he didn’t wait to thank the musician, and appeared somewhat surprised.

“I mean Meat Loaf was here, can you believe it?” asked Romney.

“Look, these guys have other things to do, you know – they have lives,” Romney said. “They can go to a concert where they’re getting paid, but they decided instead, because this election counts so much, to come here, and I want to thank them for their generosity and support.”

At the end of the rally, as fireworks went off overhead, Meat Loaf joined Romney on stage and the two joined to sing “America the Beautiful” together.

In an amusing coincidence, Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, appeared earlier Thursday on the daytime cooking show hosted by Rachel Ray, during which she made her husband’s favorite dish: meatloaf.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

In Virginia, Ryan Pushes Hard, Targeting Voters Who Voted Obama in ’08

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A week and a half before Election Day, Paul Ryan told voters in the critical battleground state of Virginia they have two paths, urging supporters to bring former Barack Obama voters to the Romney campaign.

“We’re going to look back at this moment as a time where America picked this path or that path, a growing economy with opportunity and upward mobility, or more stagnation and a debt crisis with more dependency,” Ryan said Thursday evening at a rally in front of about 1,700 people.

Standing in front of a massive American flag hanging from a crane, with his sleeves rolled up, Ryan issued instructions to the faithful in the crowd:

“When you think about November 6, Election Day, think about a person who you know who liked the hope and the change in 2008, who was inspired by that, but who now knows it’s empty,” Ryan, standing next to a large “Victory in Virginia” sign, urged the crowd. “Because let’s also think about November the 7th. Lets think about the next morning … about what we’re going to see.”

The rally was outside the Crutchfield Corporation, which makes car stereos and consumer electronics. The candidate continued, saying just as “this election is a mandate for us, President Obama will claim one for him.”

“And that means since he’s proposing nothing different, we will get nothing different,” Ryan said, going back and forth with the crowd as they yelled, “No!” “So the question is, do we want to wake up on November the 7th and see that we have just four more years of the same? Do we want to wake up and think we’re going to have to wait four more years? Or do we just want to wait two more weeks?”

Ryan, clearly fired up, then issued a rallying cry to those gathered, saying, “The choice is yours…. And boy, is it a clear choice.”

This was the second of two events in Virginia for Ryan, and polls are deadlocked in this critical state with both candidates within the margin of error. The state had been reliably red until Obama won it in 2008, the first Democrat to do so in a presidential race since 1964, and the Romney campaign is aggressively trying to flip it back.

The most recent ABC News/Washington Post’s tracking poll released Thursday showed Romney with 50 percent support among likely voters nationally to 47 percent support for the president. The candidates are both within the margin of error, but this is the highest vote-preference result of the campaign for Romney to date.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

President Obama Wraps Blitz With Air Force One Rally in Ohio

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) – After 37 hours, 6,500 flight miles and six grassroots rallies that drew tens of thousands of supporters, President Obama’s frenetic battleground-state blitz came to a close Thursday night with a rally on a small airport tarmac overlooking Lake Erie.

“This is the final stop on our 48-hour fly-around all across America. We’ve been going for two days straight,” a visibly tired but spirited Obama told a crowd of 12,000 after taking the stage under starry skies.

“We’ve been from the East Coast to the West Coast and now we’re going back east again,” he said. “So Ohio, I gotta tell you, even though I’ve been going for about 38 hours straight, even though my voice is kind of hoarse, I’ve still got a spring in my step because our cause is right, because we’re fighting for the future.”

The event was marked by the dramatic arrival of Air Force One – the smaller Boeing 757-model – on a landing strip several hundred yards from where the crowd was huddled. The plane taxied right up to the stage and bleachers, which were lit by giant floodlights for Obama’s final stump speech of his self-described travel “extravaganza.”

The crowd chanted “Obama! Obama!” as the president jogged down the steps of his bird and out onto the stage.

“Hello, Ohio!” he said.

Over the past two days, Obama has crisscrossed the country, visiting Iowa, Colorado, California, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and Ohio. He addressed 68,000 voters combined at rallies across the country and spoke to tens of thousands more by phone in conference calls from Air Force One.

He arrived at Burke Lakefront Airport just hours after casting his own ballot in Chicago – the first time a sitting president has voted early in person for a general election campaign.

“I’ve come to Ohio today to ask you for your vote,” he said. “And I’m asking you to vote early. Here in Ohio you can vote now. You don’t have to vote later. I need you to vote now and I need your help to keep moving America forward.”

Ohio is viewed by Obama strategists and Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign as the decisive state in the 2012 election. President Obama has visited Ohio 18 times visit this year – making it his most-visited state of the election campaign, underscoring its importance.

“Ohio, I believe in you. And I need you to keep believing in me,” Obama said. “And if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves … we’re going to win this election and finish this election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

'Horses and Bayonets' Become Campaign Fodder in Battleground Virginia

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- It started as a snarky comeback when President Obama knocked down Mitt Romney for arguing that the Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917 with the reminder that the military has fewer "horses and bayonets." But the punch line quickly became real campaign fodder in the razor-thin Senate race between Tim Kaine, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, and George Allen, a former Republican senator.

The comments could now play a role in determining whether Democrats are able to hold on to the open Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb and whether Obama can once again pull out a win in the battleground state.

Within hours of the debate, Allen's campaign released a statement ripping Obama's "disregard" for the potential loss of "200,000 Virginia jobs."

And in a campaign ad less than two days after his comments, Allen, 60, tied Kaine to Obama, suggesting that the two Democrats support draconian cuts to the military.

"Decisions in Washington ripple through our communities, harming small businesses," Allen said in the spot. "My plan will stop defense cuts by growing our economy, using our energy resources and creating jobs. My job is to fight for yours."

Kaine's campaign responded, saying that Kaine, 54, has always opposed deep defense cuts and Allen's claims in the ad are a "transparently partisan attempt to win re-election."

The debate is a staple of politics in Virginia, home of the largest U.S. Naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, and the fourth-largest federal workforce, according to the most recent Census data from 2009.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said Democrats and Republicans campaigning in the state at the federal level have always had to dance around the issue of federal spending, which is at least partly responsible for the relative health of Virginia's economy.

"[Democrats] point out that the federal government is essential to Virginia's strong economy and its one of the reasons we have a 5.9 percent unemployment rate," Sabato told ABC News. "What Republicans do is they attack federal spending but they exempt defense."

The stakes are high in a Senate race that could not be tighter. The race between Allen and Kaine is virtually tied, as it has been for nearly the entire election, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average.

And Romney has also staked his fate in Virginia on his plan for the Navy, which he says has fewer ships now than it needs to carry out its mission.

His campaign Thursday released a new radio ad lampooning Obama's "horses and bayonets" comment.

"To Mitt Romney, that's a problem, to President Obama, it's a chance to deliver a punch line," the ad says. "Does President Obama know how much his defense cuts will hurt us?"

The ad is also being run in other states, including Florida.

But Obama also hopes to pull off a repeat performance of his 2008 sweep in Virginia. He faces a difficult, some say daunting task. Virginia has only voted for one Democrat, Obama, in the past 40 years.

Obama did it in 2008 by winning several states won by George W. Bush in 2004. But Sabato says Obama risks losing by wide margins in this election in the southwestern counties least hospitable to Democrats.

"You've seen a virtual collapse among whites and particularly white males in rural areas," Sabato said. "Obama is going to crash and burn in southwest Virginia, but his goal is to reduce the massive loss."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio