Derry, New Hampshire (CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan held a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, marking the second visit to the Granite State in two weeks by the Republican vice presidential nominee.
He held a rally in Derry, 15 miles from the border of Massachusetts, which was governed by his running mate, Mitt Romney, from 2003 to 2007.
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Considered a toss-up state by CNN, the Romney campaign is making a push for the four electoral votes in New Hampshire, where the GOP nominee owns a home and launched his presidential bid last year.
Ryan acknowledged the importance of the first-in-the-nation primary state when he laid out what’s at stake in this election.
“You've had presidential candidates in your kitchens. You're used to this, but that's why you know the responsibility you have,” Ryan told roughly 700 people at Pinkerton Academy.
“You have a responsibility to talk to your fellow citizens, to get those people that liked the promise of hope and change four years ago but are demoralized now, to show them we have a better path, we have better ideas, because we are going to reapply our founding principles,” he said.
The seven-term congressman criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and blamed him for the nation’s credit downgrade.
“Look at what President Obama did on the budget. Nothing except borrow and spend," Ryan said. "And as a result of the president's abdication of leadership, as a result of seeing the most predictable economic crisis in our country's history and not fixing it, our credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history. When Mitt Romney was governor, the credit rating on his state was upgraded. That's the kind of change we'll get with a Mitt Romney presidency.”
He praised his running mate for being able to govern Massachusetts, which he pointed out is “not a ruby red Republican state,” and work with a state legislature, which was 87% Democrat.
A native of Wisconsin, Ryan appeared on stage with his wife Janna. Joining him on the campaign trail for the first time was his sister, Janet, and his brother-in-law who live in Boston.
He relished in his New England connection.
“They live right over the border in Boston. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing to everybody here,” Ryan said. “But my sister lives in Boston, and she works for Dunkin Brands, and that is good coffee, isn’t it?”
Ryan was last in New Hampshire a week and a half ago. On that visit, former state GOP chairman Jack Kimball called on Ryan to "take the gloves off" in the fight against Obama, while Ryan hammered the Obama administration for creating a "government-centered society with a government-driven economy."
The most recent poll of likely voters in New Hampshire showed Obama with a slight lead just outside of the poll's sampling error. He led Romney 51% to 44% in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll conducted this past week that had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 points.
Ryan was scheduled to campaign in Ohio on Saturday afternoon, while Romney spent the day off the trail.