Ryan rallies GOP base outside Harrisburg in quest for PA votes

Romney 2012
Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gestures as he speaks during a campaign event at Harrisburg International airport, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 in Middletown, Pa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

As part of the Romney campaign's fourth-quarter, full-court press on Pennsylvania ahead of Tuesday's election, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a fly-by appearance outside Harrisburg to rally the GOP faithful.

Jetting in for a 20-minute stop in a hangar at the Harrisburg International Airport, Ryan appealed to a crowd of several thousand to help send the Republican ticket to Washington.

"Are you gonna help us win this election?" said Ryan to cheers of "three more days."

Ryan hit home the jobs message, saying President Obama had not delivered on his promises to restore the economy and Mitt Romney is a leader who will.

"This is not what recovery looks like," said Ryan, noting the rising debt and high unemployment.

Romney is scheduled to make what will likely be his final appeal to Pennsylvanians in Bucks County on Sunday - his first appearance in Pennsylvania since July.

Jill Biden, wife of vice president Joe Biden, appeared at events in Montgomery County and elsewhere today as both sides vie for votes in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Former President Bill Clinton, Obama's top campaign surrogate is scheduled to return to Pennsylvania on Monday, making appearances in Pittsburgh and Scranton as well as hold two events in the Philadelphia.

In a statement issued shortly after the Ryan event, the Obama campaign called the rally part of a "desperate hunt" to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win and assailed the Romney/Ryan plan as one that would mean tax hikes for the middle class, turn Medicare into vouchers and make deep cuts to education.

"No matter how they dress it up in the final days of this race, that’s not a plan to strengthen the middle class or grow our economy - they’re the same failed policies that crashed our economy and devastated the middle class in the first place,” said Desiree Peterkin Bell, the campaign's senior communications adviser.

At the Ryan rally, Gov Corbett urged the crowd to make sure their friends go out and vote and convince any who may be on the fence to support the Romney/Ryan ticket.

"We are the keystone state and we are the keystone state to this election," said Corbett, who introduced Ryan. 

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, who also attended the event along with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, said he thinks Pennsylvania - which has not supported a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988 - is within reach.

"Pennsylvania is much closer than national polls suggest," said Barletta, who is facing a challenge from Democrat Gene Stilp of Harrisburg in a newly-drawn district that runs from Wilkes-Barre in the northeast to west of Carlisle in central Pennsylvania. 

 "The state has not been inundated like elsewhere; it's a fresh market for Romney to come in at the end," he said.

The still-struggling economy was on the minds of many of those in attendance. 

Paul Gagnon, a carpenter from East Berlin, said his income has dropped 50 percent since Obama took office.

"In four years Obama could have done more than was done," said Gagnon. "Every step seems to hurt rather than help."

Ryan seemed to tailor his speech for Pennsylvanians like Gagnon. He talked about the frustration in his hometown in Janesville, Wis. after the GM plant closed and contended that business taxes and regulation were hurting the recovery.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have a job creator in the White House?" Ryan said, to more cheers, before hopping back in his plane and heading off to Richmond and then onto Florida before day's end.


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