US Presidential Election 2012

Hey, Paul Ryan's the guy… from everywhere

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 4:10am

He's sold hot dogs in Minnesota and spent summers in Colorado. His mother lives in Florida and Ohio looks just like his native Wisconsin.

Whatever the swing state, Paul Ryan found a way to call it home.

Addressing one of his largest crowds of the campaign, the Republican vice-presidential candidate ticked off his many ties to Minnesota, one of a handful of states Mitt Romney's team visited in the final countdown.

Ryan is from Wisconsin, Minnesota's neighbour and occasional friendly rival. But he boasted that he was often mistaken as one of the crowd's own.

"In [Washington] DC, people say, 'Oh yeah, Ryan, you're the budget guy from Minnesota, right? I'm from Wisconsin. Close," Ryan said at the gathering at an airport hangar on Sunday.

Politicians often highlight connections to states they visit. But few can match Ryan.

In Minnesota, Ryan talked about the summer job he had selling Oscar Mayer products in the northern part of the state. He mentioned his cousin, Terry, who works for the Minnesota Twins baseball team. He joked about needing better equipment for ice fishing, a passion in the state with long, cold winters.

Ryan's actual home happens to be a swing state, one of the nine or so battlegrounds likely to determine whether the US wakes up today facing Romney as president-elect, or four more years of Barack Obama.

Ryan spent three days there last week, talking about his passion for hunting and the state's dairy and farming traditions.

Ryan, who has represented a district in southern Wisconsin in Congress for 14 years, visited Green Bay on Sunday to shake hands with Packers fans, wearing the football team's green and yellow colours on his tie.

On Friday, he told supporters in Cedar Falls, Iowa, that his wife's mother's family came from Iowa. Playing on the state's frugal reputation, he recounted how his wife Janna's grandmother once froze five ounces of dog food for months, worried that it would go to waste. "That is Iowa fiscal conservatism. That is Iowa common sense," Ryan lectured.

Earlier that day he told a crowd in Montrose, Colorado, that he visited their state each summer growing up. "Janna and I spent our childhoods coming to Colorado every year ," Ryan said. "This is God's country."

On Saturday, Ryan flew to Panama Beach, Florida, where he reminded the crowd that his mother calls the state home.

And in Ohio, the campaign's most fiercely contested battleground, Ryan's enthusiasm knows no bounds.

Roving the state on an eight-stop bus tour late last month, he urged the crowds to vote for the local - or almost local - guy.

"I feel like I'm 10 miles from my house, except our corn is already down by now," Ryan told a crowd in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

At a midday rally, Ryan revelled in the similarity between the names of his host, Zanesville, and his real home town. "I almost said hello Janesville," Ryan said. "That's where I'm from."