YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio — At Paul Ryan’s fourth stop on a two-day 400 mile bus tour criss-crossing this state, the GOP vice presidential candidate tried to connect with the crowd of more than 1,000 at a dairy here by comparing his native Wisconsin to the Buckeye state on a cold and dreary Saturday.
“In our part of the country we are proud, we make things, we grow things, and we sell things and we create jobs and make good livings for ourselves,” Ryan said at Young’s Jersey Dairy in brief remarks that clocked in at just over 10 minutes, where he said in his beloved home state they buy “cheese curds” at places like the dairy, which also had batting cages and other activities.
Ryan noted that Election Day is a mere “10 days away,” and told the voters in this critical state “we can do this, these solutions are right there.”
Throughout his two and a half months as a national candidate, the House Budget Committee chairman has consistently tried to bond with his audience, whether it be through their shared love of hunting as it was last Saturday in Belmont, Ohio, or today appealing to the football fans in the crowd.
“We are asking for your support,” Ryan said, before referring to the Ohio-Wisconsin college football faceoff in November. “We are in this together. Look, Badger fans and Buckeye fans can do this together … I am just glad the game is not until after the election.”
Ryan then got serious, telling the Ohioans that they “understand” that they are “in the epicenter of this thing.”
“You understand that you have a responsibility and an opportunity because your decision and the decision of your friends and your family members and your neighbors may very well determine the direction of this country,” Ryan said.
The two-day tour, which drove through Ohio’s small towns and farmland Saturday, was originally supposed to be solo, but will now be with Mitt Romney on Sunday due to forced schedule changes because of Hurricane Sandy.
The trip around the state hits some of the most swingiest counties in Ohio, but one thing Ryan hasn’t been reminding those gathered is to vote early. Early voting in this state started on Oct. 2 and Ryan made sure to point it out when he was stumping in the state last weekend.
As of the latest report from the Ohio Secretary of State, 1.4 million absentee ballots have been requested so far in the state and just less than 620,000 of those ballots have been mailed back. Another 150,000-plus have been cast in person.
The Wisconsin congressman is joined on the bus tour with his wife, Janna and their three young children. The third stop Saturday was at bakery where the kids got some treats and his 10-year-old daughter Liza teased her famously health-conscious father.
Ryan jokingly asked the owner of Lindsey’s Bakery in Circleville, Ohio, if the delicacies were “sugar free.” Liza then piped in: “He’s sugar free, except for donuts and ice cream.”
Ryan added: “And apple fritters.”
At his second stop at a high school in Zanesville, he warned the crowd just 10 days from Election Day what has been the reality for every Republican who tried to get to the White House:
“As Ohio goes, so goes America. I think you know that,” Ryan said.
Recent polls have Obama ahead here, but still show a major tightening since before the presidential debates.
A CNN/ORC poll released last week shows the president with 50 percent and Romney with 46 percent. The latest ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll released Friday has the race at a dead heat with Romney at 49 percent and Obama at 48 percent.
Ryan has one more stop Saturday at a high school in Sabina, Ohio, before joining up with Romney for three stops Sunday.