WAUKESHA, Wis.—Paul Ryan, leading Republican representative and freshly picked running mate for presumed presidential nominee Mitt Romney, returned to a hero’s welcome in his home state Sunday evening amid raucous cheers from several thousand people.
Ryan, a fifth-generation Wisconsin native, wiped tears from his eyes as he acknowledged the ovation. “It is good to be home,” Ryan said, waving to the crowd and shaking his head with emotion. “I’ll tell you, I love Wisconsin.”
Ryan, campaigning with Romney after a full slate of events in North Carolina, called on Wisconsin to vote again for smaller government in November, echoing a vote early this summer when Governor Scott Walker survived a recall after he had moved against the collective-bargaining rights of public unions.
Barack Obama carried the state comfortably in 2008 and most analysts believe he still has the inside track, but Republicans believe they have a shot here.
“We want to elect men and women who run for office and tell us who they really are, what they really believe, what they’re really going to do, and then when they get elected, they do that,” Ryan said.
Romney applauded his new running mate throughout Ryan’s speech, but then was forced to speak over two hecklers who tried to disrupt his stump speech.
Romney seemed to be angered by the interruptions, which were drowned out by chants of “USA! USA!”
“You see, young man,” Romney said animatedly to one heckler, “this group is respectful of other people’s rights to be heard.”
He then pivoted to criticize the tenor of the president’s campaign: “Mr. President, take your campaign out of the gutter and let’s talk about the real issues America faces.”