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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Republican ticket met up in Lancaster, Ohio today. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan took the stage together as the sun set over the historic downtown. NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from there now. And, Ari, what was the mood as Romney and Ryan took the stage together tonight?

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: You know, Robert, the scale of these rallies has been steadily growing. The optics are cinematic. Tonight, there was this massive flag, a huge banner saying America's comeback scene. Paul Ryan's three young kids started by throwing balled-up campaign T-shirts into the crowd. These events have been growing for the last week or so. And at this event, Romney called it a growing crescendo of enthusiasm for his campaign.

SIEGEL: I gather Paul Ryan spoke first. What did he emphasize from the debate last night?

SHAPIRO: He really hit Vice President Biden on Libya. This is part of what he said:

CONGRESSMAN PAUL RYAN: First, they blame a YouTube video and a non-existent riot, then when the country's getting upset about it, they blame Romney and Ryan for getting people upset about it. They keep changing their story. This is not what leadership looks like.

SHAPIRO: You remember during the debate last night, Biden said, quote, "We did not know they wanted more security before the terrorist attack in Benghazi." White House officials say he was speaking only for himself and the president. State Department officials have testified that they requested more security and it's unclear how far up the chain of command that request went. So, this is a line of attack that Republicans are really hitting hard today.

SIEGEL: And what was Governor Romney's message this evening?

SHAPIRO: Well, he focused on the difference between the candidates' demeanor on the debate stage. While Ryan, of course, was more subdued last night, Biden was smiling, laughing, leaning back in his chair, occasionally shaking his head as Ryan talked. So, tonight, Romney said there was one person on the stage with thoughtfulness, who was respectful, who was steady and poised. He said there was one person on that stage who he'd want to be with if there was a crisis. Of course, that's his running mate, he said, Paul Ryan.

SIEGEL: Thanks, Ari.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome, Robert.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Ari Shapiro speaking with us from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's rally in Lancaster, Ohio.

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