(Photo: REUTERS/Aaron Bernstein)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan campaigned on Sunday in his own home state of Wisconsin, and must-win Ohio and Minnesota, highlighting his regional roots and blaming President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"This is the longest stretch I've gone without hunting since I think I was 12 years old," CBS News quoted Ryan as remarking to a fan at the tailgate for the Green Bay Packers game outside the Sideline Sports Bar and Restaurant near Lambeau Field in Wisconsin on Sunday morning. "Just a reminder that I'll be in the woods pretty soon," added the chair of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan, a Janesville, Wis., congressman, was joined by his family, including his sons Josh and Matt, as well as the state's top GOP officials, in Green Bay, Wis.
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted Oct. 28-29, President Barack Obama is ahead of Romney by 3 percentage points in the state.
In Mansfield, Ohio, Ryan blamed Obama for failing to revive the economy on Sunday. "It doesn't have to be like this. We don't have to settle for this. This may be the best that President Obama can do but it is not the best America can do," he was quoted as saying.
Romney has aired ads in Ohio, suggesting that Obama's bailout of Detroit auto companies, for which Democrats are taking credit, helped China more than helping the U.S.
Ryan referred to the shutdown of the General Motors stamping plant and the closing of a GM plant in Janesville. "A lot of friends of mine from high school that I grew up with lost their jobs," Fox News quoted him as saying. "It's not going the right way in some places in America, and you know what it doesn't have to be like this. We don't have to settle for this."
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Obama is leading Romney 50 percent to 48 percent in Ohio, which is within the poll's 2.2 percent margin of error. A CNN/ORC poll released Friday showed Obama ahead of Romney by 50 percent to 47 percent in the crucial state.
However, CNN quoted GOP sources as saying that internal Republican tracking shows the race much tighter, with Romney even holding a tiny lead in Ohio as recently as a few days ago.
Gov. John Kasich was quoted as saying that Republican enthusiasm is being underestimated by public pollsters who are forecasting a Democratic turnout on par with the 2008 election. "I don't feel the kind of enthusiasm among Democrats that I see among Republicans," he said. "The turnout models that show a bigger Democrat turnout than what is likely to occur, that's why I think Romney is going to win. It's intensity."
Ryan also attended a "victory rally" at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, drawing about 6,000 people, his largest solo crowd to date according to an estimate from the campaign, on Sunday.
"We could use your help, Minnesota, how about it, what do you say?" Ryan was quoted as saying as he told stories of a summer job driving the Oscar Meyer truck in northern Minnesota and fishing in the state's lakes. "Even Vikings fans and Packers fans can lie down together for this country. Coming together, we can bridge our differences," he said, referring to the state's two NFL football teams.
According to the latest Minneapolis Star-Tribune/Mason Dixon poll, Obama is up by 3 percentage points in the state, which is within the survey's margin of error.