WAUKESHA, Wis.—Rep. Paul Ryan wiped away tears as he made his first appearance as Mitt Romney's running mate in his home state, telling a crowd of 10,000 people here that the upcoming election is a "special moment" not just for him, but for the country.
Arriving here at an early evening rally, Romney and Ryan made what can only be described as a movie star entrance, riding in on the Romney campaign bus and then making their way through the crowd to the soundtrack of the movie, "Air Force One."
Upon taking the stage, Ryan become visibly emotional, wiping his eyes. He blew kisses to the crowd. His first words on the stump were, "Hi, Mom."
Joking that half the crowd were his relatives, Ryan talked up his Midwestern roots and his love for his home state.
"My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, and a little Spotted Cow and some Millers," Ryan said, his voice cracking with emotion. "I even think ice fishing is interesting."
But soon, Ryan returned the role he's quickly adapted in two days of campaigning with Romney—a defender of his running mate's legacy and leadership and an attack dog on President Barack Obama's policies.
He trashed Obama for failing to turn the country around and insisted the future of the nation is at stake this November.
"It is our duty to save the American dream for our children," Ryan said.
Taking the stage moments later, Romney said he had gotten tears in his eyes watching the "welcome" the crowd here had given his potential VP. But moments later, Romney was interrupted by a protestor, whom the GOP candidate publicly scolded from the stage as he was escorted out of the event for not having "respect" to allow others to voice their opinions.
Romney then turned the attack against Obama, telling the crowd here that the president will do "everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest, most negative campaign in American history."
"Mr. President," Romney snapped, "Take your campaign out of the gutter. Let's talk about the real issues America faces."
The GOP candidate looked as fired up as he's ever appeared on the campaign trail—and it's a moment likely to surface in an upcoming campaign ad. As Ryan and Romney spoke here, a production crew was filming the event using large crane cams which slowly panned over the crowd during the entire 30-minute event.