(MINNEAPOLIS) — Paul Ryan was greeted at an airplane hangar in Minneapolis on Sunday by one of the largest crowds he has drawn on his own since joining the campaign.
Hopping off the plane with his family and walking down a long runway, he seemed genuinely surprised by the audience. The campaign put the crowd at 6,500, including the people who couldn’t fit inside.
“I’ve got a question: Minnesota, are you going to help us win this election?,” Ryan asked the crowd. “Man, I’ve got to say, I’m a Wisconsin guy, basically like your next door neighbor.”
This was Ryan’s first rally in Minnesota, though he has had a fundraiser here and last week, he and his wife crossed the border from Wisconsin to have dinner in the Twin Cities.
Although its historically gone blue, Minnesota does have some conservative pockets. As a reminder of that, former presidential candidate and U.S. House member Rep. Michele Bachmann stood right by the stage, beaming at Ryan throughout his speech.
The crowd interrupted Ryan’s speech with deafening chants of “two more years!” and in his remarks, he buttered up the crowd, saying he gets mistaken for a Minnesotan frequently. He said he answers, “‘No I’m from Wisconsin, close. We’re the Catholic deer hunters, they are the Lutheran deer hunters.’”
Ryan said that even though he was in the last 48-hour final sprint of his vice presidential candidacy, he was able to watch an ice fishing show Sunday morning, playing right to the crowd.
“I’ve got a 15-year-old jiffy power auger and I was taking a look at these brand new ice fishing machines and I gotta tell you after this election I’ve got to look at a new one of those things,” Ryan said, adding that he spent a summer working in Eden Prairie, outside of Minneapolis.
“This is God’s country when you combine Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is great to be home. This is fantastic,” Ryan said.
As both Mitt Romney and Ryan have been doing on the stump, he stressed bipartisanship, aiming for Minnesotans’ independent streak.
“Look, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Wisconsinites and Minnesotans, we are bipartisan states, we know you have to work with people across the aisle because they’re with us, they’re part of us, they’re in our own families,” said Ryan. “That’s what it’s like where we come from, it’s also what it’s like where Mitt Romney comes from.”
Ryan gave his closing pitch to the boisterous crowd, asking them to give his ticket a win because “we are in this together.”
“Everybody you know that may have thought hope and change was good, talk to them,” Ryan said. “You know this is a critical election. You know it’s a critical moment. We can’t handle four more years of this, and Minnesota, work with us. Join with us.”
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