Rep. Ryan Headlines GOP Events In Colorado, Nevada

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan continues to introduce himself to voters. Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Ryan would be his running mate. So far, Ryan has campaigned exclusively in battleground states that were carried by Democrats in 2008.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And while Joe Biden was attacking Paul Ryan in Virginia, the new Republican running mate was introducing himself to voters, working on his stump speech. So far, the Wisconsin congressman has campaigned exclusively in battleground states carried by Democrats in 2008. And yesterday, Ryan headlined his own events in Nevada and Colorado.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea has this report.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Jefferson County, Colorado, is one of those places that everyone watches in election years. Colorado is, of course, a battleground state. Jefferson is a battleground county. And that's why Paul Ryan was here yesterday, in a packed high school gym in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. After being heckled at the Iowa State Fair a day earlier, Ryan got nothing but love yesterday - starting with former congressman Bob Beauprez, who spoke of Ryan's intellect and his leadership.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

BOB BEAUPREZ: There's something else that I think is very important to remember about Paul Ryan: He ain't Joe Biden.

(CHEERS)

GONYEA: Moments later, it was state Senate candidate Lang Sias.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

LANG SIAS: October 11th, folks. Mark your calendar. No, it's not a Broncos game.

(LAUGHTER)

SIAS: But you'll get to see some defenses shredded, because that's the evening that Paul Ryan will take on Joe Biden.

(CHEERS)

GONYEA: Paul Ryan eventually took the stage to even bigger cheers. He began by noting that he'd already planned on being in Colorado this week - only on family vacation, not as a candidate for vice president.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PAUL RYAN: You see, my family's over in one of our great national forests, here in Colorado, while we speak. We come here every summer. I've been climbing fourteeners for over 20 years, here in this great state.

(CHEERS)

GONYEA: Fourteeners is a reference to Colorado mountains that are at least 14,000 feet high. Officially, the Ryan speech was on the topic of energy independence.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

RYAN: Now, you have the technology here, the wherewithal here, the oil and gas here. We want to reward that. We should be tapping our resources - which we know we can in an environmentally sensitive way. We want to get the government out of the way.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

GONYEA: There were jeers when he mentioned the Environmental Protection Agency. On the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, he accused the Obama administration of hindering energy development.

(BOOS)

RYAN: He has 10 different agencies, and four executive offices, regulating hydraulic fracturing. We think Coloradans know how to take care of this themselves. We want you to be in charge.

(CHEERS)

GONYEA: And he was cheered again, when he called for the approval of the Keystone oil pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. At times, Ryan demonstrated that he's mastered the rhythms of what will be his basic stump speech, rattling off phrases and lines with precision.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

RYAN: Here's how to get things done. We want more people to be successful in society, because if more people are successful in society, America grows and we create jobs.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

GONYEA: But there were times when the planned soundbites and punch lines didn't trip off the tongue so easily.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

RYAN: We've gone from hope and blame to a - from hope and - excuse me - from hope and change to hope - to attack and blame.

GONYEA: But as the audience filed out, reviews for this Tuesday morning event, during Ryan's opening week, were very positive. From Colorado, Ryan headed to Las Vegas. His schedule also features a lot of fundraisers - including one last night at the Venetian Hotel Resort and Casino, owned by Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who's contributed tens of millions of dollars to help Republicans defeat President Obama this year.

The Romney campaign yesterday closed last night's event to the press, though at previous fundraisers - those not held at private residences - the Romney campaign has allowed a pool reporter in. The campaign explained last night's exclusion by saying it was not a fundraising event, but a strategy session that it called, quote, "a finance meeting." Today, Paul Ryan heads to another battleground state, Ohio.

Don Gonyea, NPR News.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And Paul Ryan's home state was among some battlegrounds that held primaries yesterday. In Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, who spent four terms as governor, beat back a challenge from three fellow Republicans in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

MONTAGNE: The GOP sees Wisconsin as a key state to win control of the Senate. And in Florida, longtime congressman John Mica - facing a Tea Party freshman in a newly redrawn district - won. His victory is seen as a win for the Republican establishment.

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