* Candidate from boasts of local ties wherever he goes
* Calls upon family ties in crucial swing states
* Hopes familiarity will improve chances in homestretch
By Samuel P. Jacobs
MINNEAPOLIS, Nov 5 He's sold hot dogs in
Minnesota and spent summers in Colorado. His mother lives in
Florida and Ohio looks just like his native Wisconsin. Whatever
the swing state, Paul Ryan finds a way to call it home.
Addressing one of his largest crowds of the 2012
presidential campaign, the Republican vice presidential
candidate ticked off his many ties to Minnesota, one of a
handful of states that Mitt Romney's team has visited in the
final hours of the U.S. presidential race.
Ryan is from Wisconsin, Minnesota's neighbor and occasional
friendly rival. But he boasted that he is often mistaken as one
of the crowd's own.
"In (Washington) D.C., people say, 'Oh yeah, Ryan, you're
the budget guy from Minnesota, right? I'm from Wisconsin.
Close," Ryan said at the gathering at an airport hangar on
Politicians often highlight connections to states they
visit, hoping a little local pride will go a long way on
Election Day. But few politicians can match Ryan.
In Minnesota, Ryan talked about the summer job he had
selling Oscar Mayer products in northern part of the state. He
mentioned his cousin, Terry, who works for the Minnesota Twins
baseball team. He joked about needing better equipment for ice
fishing, a passion in the state with long, cold winters.
Ryan's actual home happens to be a swing state, one of the
nine or so battlegrounds likely to determine whether Romney and
Ryan can defeat President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe
Biden in Tuesday's election.
He spent three days there last week, telling voters about
his passion for deer hunting and the state's dairy and farming
Ryan, who has represented a district in southern Wisconsin
in Congress for 14 years, visited Green Bay on Sunday to shake
hands with Packers fans, wearing the football team's green and
yellow colors on his tie.
On Friday, he told supporters in Cedar Falls, Iowa, that his
wife's mother's family comes from Iowa. Playing on the state's
frugal reputation, he recounted how his wife Janna's grandmother
once froze five ounces of dog food for months, worried that it
would go to waste.
"That is Iowa fiscal conservatism. That is Iowa common
sense," said Ryan.
Earlier that day, he told a crowd in Montrose, Colorado,
that he visited their state each summer growing up.
"Janna and I spent our childhoods coming to Colorado every
year. We love this state whether it's fishing, hunting,
climbing, skiing, backpacking, just hanging out," Ryan said.
"This is God's country," he added.
On Saturday, Ryan flew to Panama Beach, Florida, where he
reminded the crowd that his mother calls the state home.
And in Ohio, the campaign's most fiercely contested
battleground, Ryan's enthusiasm knows no bounds.
Roving the state on an eight-stop bus tour late last month,
he urged crowd to vote for the local - or almost local - guy.
Ryan likes to call Wisconsin and Ohio, "Big Ten" country,
linking the two states by a shared college football conference.
"I look around here I feel like I'm 10 miles from my house,
except our corn is already down by now," Ryan told a crowd of
2,000 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, one evening.
At a midday rally, Ryan reveled in the similarity between
the names of his host, Zanesville, and his real home town.
"I almost said hello Janesville," Ryan said. "That's where