Ryan Brings The Love To Romney's Campaign

Play associated audio

Since Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., came on the scene Saturday, Mitt Romney's rallies have felt different. The crowds are bigger. The audience is more raucous. Lines that used to be a routine part of the Republican presidential candidate's stump speech have become rousing battle cries.

At the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., 1,600 people crowded into the room and thousands more swarmed outside.

"I feel like I'm in Woodstock," gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory exclaimed. "There's a parking jam!"

That's not a typical description of a Romney campaign rally, but it seemed apt as this bus tour worked its way through Virginia, North Carolina then Wisconsin. Intensity built from one stop to the next, and everywhere the audience shouted "USA! USA! USA! USA!"

The reason, of course, is the running mate. Ryan has changed the vibe.

At a typical Obama rally, someone will shout "I love you," and the president will reply, "I love you back." People don't shout that at Romney, but for both of the last two days, Ryan has got the love. "I love you, too," he shouts back.

Gail Rudisill has always liked Romney, but Ryan sends a different kind of shiver down her spine.

"Mitt Romney is maybe a little bit detached from folks like us," she says. "Just regular, working folks struggling to get by, that sort of thing."

This can be a big plus for Romney. And also a minus. Campaign advisers welcome the enthusiasm, but for many reasons, they don't want the newcomer to overshadow the boss.

"The thing you have to remember about these campaigns is that Gov. Romney's at the top of the ticket," says Romney adviser Kevin Madden, who underlined the hierarchy at a briefing with reporters Sunday morning.

"Gov. Romney's vision for the country is something that Congressman Ryan supports," he said. "So as we begin to talk about the issues, as far as the economy, the budget, the vision for the future, on how we create jobs and how we build a more sustainable economy, that's something that Gov. Romney's going to be talking about and that Congressman Ryan's going to continue to support."

Got that? Romney's in charge. Ryan's the support. This has at least as much to do with policy as personality; Ryan's budget proposals are a bull's-eye for Democrats.

"Genial person, but his views are quite harsh," said President Obama's campaign strategist David Axelrod on CNN Sunday morning.

He called Ryan a right-wing ideologue.

"You know the budget that he constructed for the House Republicans would include trillions of new tax cuts skewed to the very wealthy, so that we're giving a millionaire a $250,000 tax cut, while we're cutting college aid for kids and research and development and a whole range of things that we need to grow."

To Republicans, these kinds of attacks are a badge of honor.

"We needed somebody more right than middle," said Patti Edgar, who attended a rally Saturday in Manassas, Va. "And that's going to draw in a lot of people who have the same values he has."

The question is whether it will push away people who don't share those values.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Love Stories From New York, The City That Never Sleeps

The air may be icy, but our alt.Latino teams fills it this Valentine's Day with warm memories from New Yorkers of love and Latin music.
NPR

Yuhsheng: A Dish To Toss In The air To Celebrate The Chinese New Year

Alex Wong, originally from Malaysia, introduces his American neighbors to the culinary tradition of Yusheng, a giant salad toss with which Chinese in southeast Asia greet the Lunar New Year tradition.
NPR

Trial Date Still Pending For 9 Accused Of Plotting 911 Attacks

Military commissions resume this week at Guatmanamo, even as President Barack Obama maintains his vow to close the prison, with or without Congress.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.