Lakewood, Colorado (CNN) – Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is rapidly emerging as an everyman foil to his ticket mate Mitt Romney, whose blue blood bearing has never quite resonated with grassroots conservatives.
Ryan has made repeated allusions to his regular guy interests during his rollout as Romney's running mate, talking up his fondness for bow-hunting, Wisconsin beer and the Green Bay Packers.
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He went a step further on Tuesday in Colorado, his second solo campaign event without Romney at his side.
"You know, I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, you know when I was flipping burgers at McDonalds, when I was standing in front of that big Hobart machine washing dishes or waiting tables, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life," Ryan told at least two thousand fired up supporters at Lakewood High School in suburban Denver. "I thought to myself: I'm the American dream."
And in making the case for a broader energy policy, Ryan recalled a recent visit to the gas station.
"You know, last week when I was filling my truck up … something tells me I'm not going to be putting gas in my truck again anytime soon," he said, drawing laughs. "But last week when I was filling my truck up, it cost me $100 bucks and the only reason it cost me $100 bucks is because the pump cut me off at $100 dollars and I didn't even fill the gas tank."
The contours of Ryan's stump speech are beginning to take shape.
In khaki slacks and a button-down shirt, Ryan talks up his Midwestern values, making a twin appeal to blue collar voters and the kind of suburbanites who showed up at his Colorado rally on Tuesday.
He then embraces the traditional attack dog role of a presidential running mate.
"He can't run on his record," Ryan said of President Obama, to lusty boos from the crowd. "He hasn't changed his tune. So all that he has left is to distort, demagogue, to divide, to try and confuse, to distract you from the real issues of this election."
And he praises the person at the top of the GOP ticket, exalting the candidate's business know-how and describing Romney in this election as a "man meeting the moment."
What's missing from his delivery?
Any reference to his controversial proposals to cut taxes and restructure Medicare and Medicaid - the issues that have dominated the campaign since Ryan, the House Budget chairman, was revealed as Romney's running mate last Saturday.
After the speech, the Obama campaign rapidly fired back at Ryan's attack on the Obama administration's energy policies.
"Paul Ryan tried to embrace President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy in Colorado today, but the Romney-Ryan budget would make devastating cuts to the President's investments in energy technologies that have expanded domestic oil production, helped put us on track to double renewable energy production, and increased natural gas production to an all-time high," said Obama spokesman Danny Kanner.
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