Homespun welcome for Ryan in Janesville
August 27th, 2012
05:17 PM ET
2 years ago

Homespun welcome for Ryan in Janesville

Janesville, Wisconsin (CNN) – Back in his high school gym in Janesville, Rep. Paul Ryan's voice cracked when he recognized so many familiar faces in the crowd.

"It's very moving," said Paul as he looked around the packed gym that included family, friends and acquaintances, as well as homemade signs and people, including his son Sam, who were wearing cheesehead hats spray-painted with Romney-Ryan logos.

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His first hometown rally since he became Mitt Romney's running mate on August 11 was supposed to be a send-off rally for the Tampa-bound vice presidential nominee who is scheduled to deliver his speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.

Like so many people whose travel plans got postponed because of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is churning into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, Ryan and his family will travel to Tampa on Tuesday as opposed to Monday evening.

"And while we take stock of our community, I think we should right now put in our minds and our prayers the people who have been victims of Hurricane Isaac and those who will stand in the path of the storm," said Ryan.

His remarks Monday offer a glimpse into themes he might address in the convention speech he has been crafting for weeks with speechwriters John McConnell and Matthew Scully.

"Friends, family this is a defining moment for our country. This is not an ordinary election this is not an ordinary time. We have a big choice to make. We're not just picking the next president for a few years. We are picking the pathway for America for a generation," he said.

As an example of the town's resilience, Ryan talked about General Motors closing an assembly plant after the 2008 economic crash that cost the area thousands of jobs.

"You know we always used to say as GM goes so goes Janesville. Do you remember that statement? You know what? We've been hit hard, we got a hard knock, but we are hardy people and we will recover from this."

He talked about a couple of friends who lost jobs but learned new skills. "That's the kind of thing we need to do is pick ourselves up, help people in need, give them the job training skills they have, flourish entrepreneurs and small businesses so that people can get back on their feet," Ryan said.

Ryan and wife Janna are raising their three children, 10-year-old Liza, 9-year-old Charlie and 7-year-old Sam in the same neighborhood he grew up in where they are surrounded by extended family members.

He said at one time he and his brother Tobin counted 67 cousins living in Janesville. "It helps you win a town like that," the seven-term congressman joked.

Near the beginning two hecklers briefly disrupted Ryan's speech but they were quickly drowned out by people shouting "USA!" and were blocked with Romney-Ryan campaign signs before local law enforcement escorted them out of the gym.

Ryan shared a story about his ancestors from Ireland, who like many other immigrants sought after a better life in the United States.

In his family's case it was a result of the potato famine in the 1850s.

"And it's not a unique story, it's the American story, and the reason our family came here, the reason everyone else's family came here is because of what this country stands for. America is not just a piece of geography, it's an idea," he said.

It was summertime when his great-great-grandfather settled in Wisconsin and bought a farm in Janesville. According to Ryan, it reminded him of Ireland.

"Then came winter and he said, 'Oh crap,'" Ryan delivered in his best Irish accent.

Growing up in Janesville, now with a population of more than 60,000, taught the vice presidential hopeful the importance of community and helping neighbors in need.

"And what we do in our communities is we look out for one another, that's what's so special, that's what government can't replace or displace," said Ryan before listing a number of non-profit groups in the area.

"We have crisis pregnancy centers, community nursing homes like Saint Elizabeth's," he added. "These are the things we do in our communities that bring us together, to help our neighbors in need. You know they call it a civil society. I call it Janesville, Wisconsin."

After the rally at Craig High School, Ryan was going to spend the rest of the day working on his convention speech, according to a campaign aide.

Asked how the speech was coming along, "It's going great," Ryan told CNN.

Last week Ryan reminded reporters that he used to be a speechwriter for New York Rep. Jack Kemp.

"I've done a lot of speechwriting the past, words matter a lot and I'm putting a lot of effort into them," he said on Aug. 22.


Filed under: Paul Ryan • Wisconsin
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. 8.3% unemployment - Over 8% 42 Straight months and the Obama Jobs DEPRESSION continues unabated

    Ryan is a true blue American patriot and a role model for all young people, as is Romney. You can tell neither wasn't snorting cocaine in college like Obama was.

    August 27, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. carlos

    499 people packed the gym, WOW

    August 27, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ZOMG HE'S SO CUTE!!! Don't you just want to draw and quarter him?

    August 27, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. carlos

    sorry, 500 with the devil's eyes and growing nose.....UGH

    August 27, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    ""That's the kind of thing we need to do is pick ourselves up, help people in need, give them the job training skills they have, flourish entrepreneurs and small businesses so that people can get back on their feet," "

    All things the GOP/Teatrolls have literally blocked when Obama proposed them.

    August 27, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Russ

    I'm sorry I could not vote for this guy. He reminds me too much of half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team. But then he is a joke. Sorry Stan don't take any offense to the comparison. You guys were at least funny.

    August 27, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    ""I've done a lot of speechwriting the past, words matter a lot and I'm putting a lot of effort into them," "

    Nobody said lying was easy. It's just easier in comparison to the truth.

    August 27, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    8.3% unemployment – Over 8% 42 Straight months and the Obama Jobs DEPRESSION continues unabated

    Ryan is a true blue American patriot and a role model for all young people, as is Romney. You can tell neither wasn't snorting cocaine in college like Obama was.

    August 27, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm

    =========================================

    So by your logic, when my parents die I could go back to college on their social security checks, get a job in DC and live off YOUR tax dollars the next 10-11 years ?

    I mean you put it up on a tee for me..........

    August 27, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. kayla

    welcome mr. gremlin

    August 27, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I've done a lot of speechwriting the past, words matter a lot and I'm putting a lot of effort into them," he said on Aug. 22."

    His voting record for the past 14 years ... matters not so much, eh, GOPers?

    August 27, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Sniffit
    Nobody said lying was easy. It's just easier in comparison to the truth.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    And the truth is Ryan is a Washington hero for the good of the nation. Obama and Reid would be dandy to just run up debt to $20 trillion and promise everybody everything under the sun. For their own greedy, irresponsible political ambitions. People who let this continue happening are just as irresponsible. But not Paul Ryan. He did the difficult work of figuring out a budget and plan that can give America hope for a future that doesn't include unconquerable debt. And he did it without raising taxes or eliminating Medicare. He's a hero. Mitt Romney saw a star and made a great decision.

    August 27, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Ryan is a true blue American patriot and a role model for all young people, as is Romney. You can tell neither wasn't snorting cocaine in college like Obama was."

    Based on the magic-thinking, substanceless ideological drivel that leaks out of Ryan, I'd have to agree. He was clearly far more interested in experimenting with shrooms....because, seroiusly, dude MUST be shrooming.

    August 27, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. Doug

    Wow that was refreshing. If it had been Obama we would have heard, "I blame..., Its not my fault....., You know I had to get us out a ditch.....," and a bunch of divisiveness. That and a bunch of other excuses as to why he doesn't measure up and why he thinks we need four more years of misery.

    August 27, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    Just an idiot.

    August 27, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    Doug

    Wow that was refreshing. If it had been Obama we would have heard, "I blame..., Its not my fault....., You know I had to get us out a ditch.....," and a bunch of divisiveness. That and a bunch of other excuses as to why he doesn't measure up and why he thinks we need four more years of misery.

    August 27, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |

    ========================================

    I like your last line on four more years of misery, as you would have me belive that 2001-2008, ESPECIALLY 07-08 were filled with Peace ? Great Prosperity and growth, no ?

    What don't you REALLY like about the President ? Because if the last four years were misery, what was 2001-2008 ? Especially tell me what you think of the free-fall that was 2007-2008.

    Don't give us Fox talking points, give us some meat and potatoes.

    August 27, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX
    ...What don't you REALLY like about the President ?
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    He is a political hack with some really bad ideas about how to manage the federal government. In practice his big bets have been a bust. But he stays the course and the economy gets worse and millions of Americans are in dire situations because he is hard-headed about the idea that in order for the government to help create jobs it needs to try and buy the economy back to life. He has failed and middle class Americans have taken the hit. Hard.

    August 27, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Ryan's wife is a tax lobbyist in DC .
    I can't got for him, sorry.

    August 27, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "He did the difficult work of figuring out a budget and plan that can give America hope for a future that doesn't include unconquerable debt."

    He did the difficult work of figuring out a budget and plan that can give America hope for a future that doesn't include Medicare.

    FIFY

    August 27, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. California Gary

    Gosh.......I wonder if those pregnancy crisis centers and nursing homes he's referring to depend on any federal dollars. I wonder how they would fare under his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, cuts to medicaid, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act? Or maybe they "built that on their own"?

    August 27, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. capiers

    I am the Father of a beautiful Daughter, a Husband to an amazing Wife and a Son to a loving Mother. I can't imagine what kind of evil has taken root in the Republican Party.

    August 27, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    Sniffit
    "He did the difficult work of figuring out a budget and plan that can give America hope for a future that doesn't include unconquerable debt."
    He did the difficult work of figuring out a budget and plan that can give America hope for a future that doesn't include Medicare.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    If you are so happy with the existing system, under the Ryan Plan you get to choose to keep it. But with the existing plan lousy care gets paid the same as excellent care. However, with the other option available in the Ryan Plan, health care providers compete on price and quality of care for your business. But like I said, you can stay with the existing sytem but if you do it is clear that you don't care about cost or quality of care any more than Obama does.

    August 27, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. Indy

    Four and the Door
    Which is your favorite thing Ryan supported ?
    Auto bailout ?
    TARP ?
    Bridge to Nowhere ?
    Tax cuts while at war

    August 27, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. PJ

    @Four:
    *****
    Question: If the Bush tax-cuts create jobs, why did Bush lose so many jobs, and where are the jobs now?

    August 27, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Indy

    Lying in front of your hometown crowd is a blessed event for Republicans across the land

    August 27, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    Indy
    Four and the Door
    Which is your favorite thing Ryan supported ?
    Auto bailout ?
    TARP ?
    Bridge to Nowhere ?
    Tax cuts while at war
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Tax cuts while at war. The auto bailout was a scam perpetrated on the American taxpayer by the UAW through their puppet Obama. TARP was not my favorite and the Bridge to Nowhere? I think that never went anywhere. Romney/ Ryan 2012!

    August 27, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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