Montrose, Colo. — Today, four days before the election, Paul Ryan told a crowd assembled on an airport tarmac that he could “smell success.” And the crowd roared.
The smell, in fact, was that of cow manure, or something that smelled an awful lot like it. The tarmac is nestled in the mountains here, and as it became more and more overpowering, and as Ryan was more and more intently describing his running mate’s business credentials, the VP contender paused, took a deep whiff and said, “I can smell success right now.
“That’s the smell of success isn’t it? That’s the smell of progress. I love that smell, it makes me feel at home,” Ryan said.
It’s the final push to Tuesday, and Ryan was hitting the president on this morning’s October jobs report, noting that the unemployment rate ticked up slightly. But he didn’t mention that additional jobs were created, more than economists predicted.
“What we saw today is that the unemployment rate is higher than the day that President Obama came into office,” Ryan said at the brief rally in an airplane hangar here. “What we are seeing today is that 23 million Americans are struggling to find work today. What we see today is that 15 percent of our fellow countrymen and women are living in poverty. This is the highest poverty rate in a generation.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey reported this morning that the economy created 171,000 jobs last month, with upward revisions from August and September adding an additional 84,000 jobs. This is the final jobs report before Election Day. Economists had only predicted about 125,000 new jobs. It wasn’t all good news, as the unemployment rate slightly ticked up from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent.
“The economy is growing at less than half the rate that the president said it would be growing at if only he could borrow a bunch of money and spend it on his cronies and stimulus package,” Ryan said, in a familiar hit against Obama. “We are nine million jobs shorter than what he said he would accomplish. Look, in the president’s campaign for another term, he has offered nothing different, and if he is reelected, nothing different is exactly what we would get.”
The crowd of about 1,000 people interrupted the GOP vice presidential nominee with chants of “four more days,” while Ryan told them, ”We only need to wait four more days. Four more days and we can do this.”
Ryan also tried to sound a bipartisan tone in his final argument to woo independent voters, or those still making up their minds, pledging that both he and his running mate would work across the aisle if they make it to the White House.
“We can come together, Republicans and Democrats can come together to solve this country’s problems,” Ryan said. “And we have a proven record for actually doing that. Mitt Romney did that that as governor, and I have been doing that in the House. We know that Americans love America and it doesn’t matter what party you come from. We can fix this country’s problems.”
Democrats in Washington, D.C., as well as those Romney worked with while he was governor in Massachusetts, have consistently criticized both members of the GOP ticket for doing the opposite.
A new CNN/ORC Colorado poll released Thursday shows the candidates within the margin of error here with Obama at 50 percent support and Romney with 48 percent. The latest ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll, released at 5 p.m. Friday, still has the two candidates virtually tied, with the president at 48 percent support and Romney at 49 percent.
As for early voting in the state, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office reports that over 1.3 million ballots have already been cast here. Of those, 457,337 are Democrats, 493, 457 are Republicans and 341,920 are from voters registered as “unaffiliated.” The number of ballots cast so far is already more than half, 53.9 percent, of the total votes cast in 2008.
ABC News’ Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.