Eau Claire, Wisc.
On Wednesday morning, Paul Ryan began his final weeklong sprint to Election Day in his home state. "It's so good to be home, Wisconsin!" Ryan told 1,000 people packed into a reception hall in Eau Claire, a city of 66,000 in the northwestern part of the state.
"My deer camp growing up was in Fairchild, not too far from here in the southern part of the county," the GOP vice presidential candidate said. He later showed off his camouflage and blaze orange iPhone case and said he looked forward to taking his 10-year-old daughter Liza hunting once the election is over.
Even when he wasn't highlighting his local ties and love for deer hunting, Ryan was generally upbeat and cheerful. He avoided any sharp attacks on President Obama, who spent the day touring damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
"I tell you what. Wisconsinites, we're problem solvers. We don't care who gets credit, we just want to fix things," Ryan said. One problem, he continued, is that "there’s a massive amount of government-imposed uncertainty plaguing our country.” Ryan said that on "day one," President Romney would fix that problem and “get us on the path to ending Obamacare,” cut regulations, open up federal land to drill for oil and gas, and approve the Keystone pipeline.
Six days out from the presidential election, Ryan was far from a typical VP attack dog, but he did warn that the nation will face a European-style debt crisis if it stays on the current path.
“Our debt is $16 trillion. Your share is $51,000 today,” Ryan said, "which is 45 percent higher than it was when President Obama took office.” Ryan pointed out that the federal government is on a trajectory to double in size by the time his children are his age.
"We can’t keep doing this," he continued. "We can’t keep going down the path we’re on. We will have an ending just like what Europe is experiencing.”
“What’s happening in Europe is they’ve got a debt crisis. They’re already cutting and slashing health and retirement benefits for current seniors, cranking up taxes, and going into a recession. The youth unemployment rate Europe-wide is over 20 percent. In Greece and in Spain, it’s over 50 percent.”
"If borrowing and taxing and regulating and spending and money-printing worked, we would have known by now," Ryan said. "It doesn't work."
"So this is Wednesday morning. Think about next Wednesday morning," Ryan said. “We are going to wake up next Wednesday morning and know that we have elected a leader to put our country back on the right track."
Ryan encouraged his fellow Wisconsinites to take advantage of early voting, which ends this Friday. "There are a handful of states that will determine the outcome of this election, and Wisconsin is one of them," Ryan said. "And so know that we have a unique responsibility and a unique opportunity to help determine the course of this country for along time."
Wisconsin could play a crucial role on Tuesday, but the most recent state polls painted a conflicting picture about the state of the presidential race. A Marquette poll released mid-day had Obama opening up an 8-point lead (51 percent to 43 percent) after leading Romney by just 1 point in the middle of October. But at midnight, NBC News/Marist released a poll that indicated the race had tightened from a 6-point Obama lead in mid-October (51 percent to 45 percent) to a 3-point race now (Obama 49 percent, Romney 46 percent). An October 25 Rasmussen poll had Romney and Obama tied at 49 percent in Wisconsin.
Following the event in Eau Claire Wednesday morning, Ryan jetted off to two more rallies in Green Bay and Racine, and he ended the day taking his children trick-or-treating in his hometown of Janesville. Mitt Romney will hold his first campaign rally in Wisconsin in over two months this Friday at the state fair park outside of Milwaukee.