Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan took aim at President Obama for using the word “revenge” at a recent rally. Ryan told an overflow crowd of more than 3,500 people at the Harrisburg, PA airport that they don’t want people to vote out of revenge. Instead, he said they want people to vote out of “love for their country.”
Obama’s comment was referenced by several others speakers at the event and a video of Obama making the comment was played repeatedly for the crowd.
The Romney-Ryan campaign is hoping the ill-tempered comment by President Obama at a rally in Springfield, Ohio, Friday will damage the Democrats. Obama made the comment in reaction to booing of the GOP campaign by the audience. “No, no, no. Don’t boo. Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”
“We are not going to spend the next four years blaming other people,” Ryan said.
Ryan appeared at the Harrisburg airport with Senator Pat Toomey, former Governor Tom Ridge, and current Governor Tom Corbett, among others. The campaign is hoping that last-minute stumping will give the Republicans a chance in the traditionally blue-collar Democratic state. Polls have consistently shown the Obama campaign with a lead, but some have shown the lead within the margin of error.
“If Pennsylvania can elect me, it can elect anybody,” said Toomey. The lawmakers claimed that they saw signs of a grassroots surge in the state, and people in the boisterous crowd were similarly hopeful.
“What do you think now? Do you think Pennsylvania is in play?” asked David Freed, Republican candidate for attorney general. The audience roared back yes in response.
“I see a very big push for Romney and Ryan,” said Tim Worsham of Jonestown, who waited in line for an hour to attend a rally in an unheated airport hangar on a very cold November day. The central part of the state will provide a huge push for the GOP, he said. These people just haven’t seen the recovery the Obama administration has been promising.
Maria Peters of Spring City agreed. She said the last four years had been rough. She had been laid off from her accounting job and had to look for nine moths before she could find other employment. “It took a lot longer than I thought.”
Ryan hit that theme hard in his speech, telling the audience: “This is not what a recovery looks like.”
Pennsylvania has always been a tough nut for the GOP to crack. In fact, several recent Republican presidential campaigns have concluded their bids with appearances in Pennsylvania, including George W. Bush and John McCain. However, the state has not voted for a Republican in the presidential race since 1988.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to have an event in the suburbs northeast of Philadelphia on Sunday, so clearly Republicans are still hopeful that they may have a shot this time. The central parts of the state are very blue-collar. Former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell once described the state as Pittsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other, and “Alabama in between.” For the GOP to win, they’ll need impressive turnout in the central parts and the suburbs to counter the Democrats’ advantage in the two main cities.