Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan attacked President Obamaâ€™s policies on jobs and energy on Saturday morning during a quick stop near Pittsburgh International Airport.
The rally between appearances in the election battlegrounds of Florida and Ohio highlights what analysts consider a renewed emphasis on Pennsylvania as polls show the gap narrowing between Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Ryan made a dramatic entry, walking on stage right off the plane at Atlantic Aviation in Moon and saying: â€œWe are going to win Pennsylvania, and we are going to win this election.â€ Supporters twirled yellow Romney-Ryan towels in Terrible Towel fashion. The Secret Service estimated the crowd at 1,000.
The seven-term congressman from Wisconsin warned that Obamaâ€™s energy policies were hurting Americans, telling supporters to look no further than the gas pump for evidence.
â€œLook, gas prices are more than double what they were four years ago. Who knows what theyâ€™re going to be if he got four more years,â€ Ryan said.
â€œNot only are these policies wrong, not only do these policies cost us jobs, not only do they mean that American energy dollars go to the Middle East; they are keeping us from having a boon,â€ he said. â€œThey are keeping us from having jobs. They are keeping us from making our paychecks stretch farther.â€
Democrats responded before Ryan even landed.
â€œIf weâ€™ve learned anything over the last few weeks, we have learned that Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected,â€ Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said as he stood with fellow Democrats at a small rally in the Airside Business Park. About 20 people attended the rally 90 minutes before Ryan spoke.
â€œTrying to cover up his own record, because over the last six years, he ran as a severely conservative candidate, and now just a few weeks before the election, heâ€™s trying to turn himself into â€˜Moderate Mitt.â€™ â€
Ryanâ€™s visit was the first to Western Pennsylvania by either side in the campaign since August.
Sean Hankey, 27, of Ford City said he thinks Romney-Ryan is the right ticket.
â€œWe have to make some solid fiscal decisions to slow our growing debt and plan for the future,â€ said Hankey, a banker who recently bought a home. He said this is the first time heâ€™s really excited about voting in a presidential election.
â€œI think that Ryan has it correct on jobs and the energy sectorâ€™s potential for growth and that can only mean good things down the road for our region,â€ he said.
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