Ryan strikes somber tone in rural Virginia
September 14th, 2012
04:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan strikes somber tone in rural Virginia

Rockingham County, Virginia (CNN) – With the bodies of four Americans killed in Libya returning to native soil on Friday, Paul Ryan pivoted back to his routine stump speech at an event in Virginia and avoided the sharp attacks on President Obama's foreign policy that have characterized the Republican campaign in recent days.

Ryan opened the event – a sun-splashed outdoor rally set against the backdrop of the lush rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley – by asking for a moment of silence for those killed during Tuesday's breach of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

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"First off, we just moments ago witnessed and watched the bodies of the four slain diplomats arrive at Andrews Air Force Base from Libya," he said. "And I'd like to ask for a moment of silence for our Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glenn Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. Let's have a moment of silence in prayer and recognition for these heroes."

After a pause, Ryan thanked the veterans in attendance and moved on to a series of familiar criticisms about the president's economic record.

Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner responded in kind, knocking Ryan's lack of specificity and accusing the Romney campaign of outlining "zero actual solutions and zero actual ideas to move the country forward."

Ryan's trip to the Rockingham County Fairgrounds near Harrisonburg marked the Romney campaign's first appearance in this reliably-red part of Virginia. Rockingham and Augusta Counties can usually be counted on to deliver healthy Republican margins in statewide races.

John McCain and Sarah Palin did not campaign here in 2008, while President Obama campaigned in the smaller and more Democratic city of Harrisonburg, home to James Madison University. He has not returned to the region during the 2012 campaign.

Roughly 3,000 people showed up to see the Vice Presidential nominee speak on an outdoor stage book-ended with bales of hay.

Ryan, an avid hunter, played to the rural crowd.

"This is one of the most beautiful parts of the country," he said. "I have canoed–it really is! I have canoed this area, I have fished this area, I have backpacked this area, and my phone has blaze orange and camouflage. It's a reminder that deer season is right around the corner I've hunted some good deer in Virginia here too."

The sizeable crowd was a welcome sight for the small batch of Republican operatives who have been working furiously to identify new voters in the commonwealth and reverse the embarrassment of 2008, when Obama defeated McCain in the state by six points.

The Republican Party of Virginia and the Romney campaign have made more voter contacts this year than during the entire 2008 and 2009 election cycles combined, according to a Virginia GOP source who did not want to be named discussing internal strategy.


Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan • Virginia
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Mikey

    Okay, let's play the game – Find the Minority!

    BTW, is Ryan outdrawing Romney the way Palin outdrew McCain in 2008?

    September 14, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Ryan's trip to the Rockingham County Fairgrounds near Harrisonburg marked the Romney campaign's first appearance in this reliably-red part of Virginia."

    And no doubt their last campaign appearance as well.

    September 14, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. California Gary

    Speaking of deer........when is Ryan going to get rid of that "deer in the headlights" look of his?

    September 14, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    And during that moment of silence, Ryan sounded smarter and more honest than he ever has before in his life.

    September 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. truth hurts

    "Breach"??? More like overran it and destroyed it. The incompetent Obama adminstration did not heighten security at embassies and consulates around the world on 9/11. A US ambassador in a hostile muslim country on 9/11 with a few body guards and no US force within distance to help. Total incompetence.

    September 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Speaking of deer........when is Ryan going to get rid of that "deer in the headlights" look of his?"

    After Obama and Biden drive the bus over him and Mittens in November.

    September 14, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Nathan

    While Romney and Ryan are running around the country looking for any negative thing to try to latch on to the POTUS is doing what Presidents do. Lead. If ice cream went up tomorrow these two would blame the President before the ice cream melted. What a couple of sorry losers they will turn out ot be.

    September 14, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    Paul Ryan pivoted back to his routine stump speech at an event in Virginia and avoided the sharp attacks on President Obama's foreign policy

    Translation = the country saw us for the cheap, dirty, unqualified misfits we are-so we had to change directions.

    September 14, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. California Gary

    Mikey.......I see a few guys without ball caps........does that count? As for you "truth hurts".......based on your statement – are we then to believe that all the attacks and demonstrations against Americans during Republican administrations were due to incompetence? Was the attack against us on 9/11/01 due to the incompetence of the Bush administration? Or could it be that terrorists will attack us from time to time no matter which party is in office? Get a grip......

    September 14, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Kapono

    Hey CNN– didn't Obama campaign at JMU in Harrisonburg during the 2008 cycle? If so, you might want to correct your statement above that he avoided this area the last time around.

    September 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. kayla

    And yet we were attack under dubya.

    September 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Joan in MS

    "I have canoed this area, I have fished this area..."

    No doubt it was Olympic record-breaking canoeing, and the largest fish ever caught in Virginia.

    September 14, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Joan in MS

    "After a pause, Ryan thanked the veterans in attendance and moved on to a series of familiar criticisms about the president ... "

    Too bad Ryan and Romney didn't even mention Afghanistan, the troops in the war, or veterans when they had their pow-wow down in Tampa.

    And "familiar criticisms"? That is all R&R can do ... criticize. What a pair of angry, hateful, unpatriotic, rich ol' white guys with no answers, no plan, and no agenda, We are tired of R&R trying to tear down our great country!

    September 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Joan in MS

    Is this where they film Honey Boo Boo?

    September 14, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    Too bad Ryan and Romney didn't even mention Afghanistan, the troops in the war, or veterans when they had their pow-wow down in Tampa.

    ----------–
    And the people in Tampa remembered it by supporting the current president. The polls in Tampa are reflecting that right now.

    September 14, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    @truth:

    At some point you and your party need to realize you've lost this election and move on. You are as delusional as Romney.

    September 14, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. California Gary

    That's pretty much the way I see it too sniffit..........unless Biden wipes that look off his face in the VP debate first. Either way, he and Romney will be political trophies on the Obama/Biden walls by the time this thing is over. There was never much doubt in my mind.......now there is no doubt at all.

    September 14, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    truth hurts

    "Breach"??? More like overran it and destroyed it. The incompetent Obama adminstration did not heighten security at embassies and consulates around the world on 9/11. A US ambassador in a hostile muslim country on 9/11 with a few body guards and no US force within distance to help. Total incompetence.
    September 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You really are clueless about what happened, aren't you? Do you even know how many Libyans were killed defending the American consulate in that "hostile muslim country"? Or that Ambassador Stevens apparently chose to put himself in harm's way, presumably because he was well known and well liked by many of the armed factions in Benghazi? He was trying to keep the peace, and his death was as likely an accident (wrong place, wrong time) as an assassination. He had hope for the Libyan people. All you have is hatred.

    September 14, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    WOW - 75 hicks in the sticks. WOW

    Obama/Biden

    Because IT IS NOT MITT'S TURN.

    September 14, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |