Paul Ryan Begins Final Sprint: 'We Believe in Change and Hope'

Phil Long/AP Photo

MARIETTA, Ohio- Paul Ryan began his final sprint Saturday, giving his closing pitch to critical voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and wrapping up the day in his home state of Wisconsin.

At the first stop at Marietta College in must-win Ohio, the GOP vice presidential nominee echoed his running mate's comments from his massive rally in West Chester, Ohio Friday night where he hit the president for the tone of the campaign. Ryan said here that four years ago the president "appealed to our highest aspirations," but now "he's appealing to our lowest fears."

"Just yesterday he was asking his supporters at a rally to vote out of revenge," Ryan said to about 1,000 people at the college gymnasium. "Mitt Romney and I are asking you to vote out of love of country. That's what we do in this country. We don't believe in revenge."

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Ryan then co-opted the president's famous slogan, changing it slightly:

"We believe in change and hope. We actually do," Ryan said. "In 2008 President Obama made all these lofty promises, it sounded so good. He said that we would have bi-partisanship, that he'd bridge the gap. He said he'd cut the deficit in half, that he'd get people working again, and he'd create jobs. You see all those jobs here in Marietta? Look, it sounded good and when he got elected people naturally expected him to deliver those results but it didn't happen and look what we got. Washington is more divided than it ever has been before. And the deficit, it doubled from what he said it would be."

Mitt Romney made a similar pitch this morning.

Both members of the GOP ticket are referring to comments the president made Friday in Springfield, Ohio when he was actually trying to silence boos aimed at Romney.

"For eight years, we had a President who shared these beliefs - a guy named Bill Clinton. And so our beliefs were put to the test. His economic plan asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more so we could continue to invest in our people, continue to invest in ideas and innovation, invest in our infrastructure. And at the time the Republican Congress and a Senate candidate by the name of Mitt Romney," Obama was then interrupted by boos from the audience. "No, no, no - don't boo, vote. Vote! Voting is the best revenge."

Ryan mentioned it again when thanking the veterans in the audience here," Every generation of veterans since have fought for us, and by the way, our veterans, they didn't fight for revenge, they fought for freedom and we owe them a debt of gratitude."

Ryan spoke about energy and gas prices in coal country here, saying he knows "livelihoods are at stake."

"He has done everything he can to shut down coal, to raise the price of gas, to make us more dependent on Middle Eastern oil," Ryan said, referring to the president. "Enough already. We can fix this mess tomorrow."

Ryan will visit at least nine states, some more than once, before Tuesday where polls are locked in almost all of them, but in most the president has a slight edge.

A new poll out of Ohio from NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist shows the president with a six point lead with 51 percent to 45 percent for Romney. The ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll from Friday again showed the race in a dead heat nationally with Romney with 49 percent and Obama at 48 percent.

After Friday night's Romney-Ryan rally in West Chester, Ohio that featured 42 surrogates, they fanned out all over, stumping in the battleground states. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell joined Ryan Saturday morning as well ahead of an event in Richmond later today. Ryan will also make stops in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Panama City, Florida, and end the day in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Ryan again urged the crowd to give it their all before Election Day in just three days, telling them to make sure they know the day after "We did everything we could.

"That we talked to everybody we knew who voted for Obama four years ago because of the hope and change and now know it didn't happen. Let 's make sure we did everything within our power to convince those people to go to the polls to vote," Ryan said.

The Wisconsin congressman is also traveling with his wife, Janna, and three young children for the final sprint.

Those who gathered to see Ryan Saturday morning got another treat at the end of his remarks when his young son Sam, 7, hopped up on the stage and flashed two peace signs, or perhaps a V for victory, and a smile.

This post has been updated.

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