As Romney Seeks Center, Ryan Sidelined

His new message: Wisconsin's a lot like Ohio

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 29, 2012 9:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – With Mitt Romney trying to win over swing voters, his conservative running mate has taken a diminished public role in the campaign. In speeches, Paul Ryan is sticking to the Romney message rather than touting his own record on matters like the budget and Medicare, the Los Angeles Times reports. The campaign is "trying to appeal to demographics where Ryan's positions would hurt them, but by the same token, they can't bury him because he's on the ticket, and a big part of the base likes" that fact, says a vice-presidential expert.

Hurricane-driven alterations to Romney's schedule have resulted in Ryan shifting from headliner to opening act in some cities. And his solo appearances aren't winning the kinds of crowds Sarah Palin enjoyed in 2008; instead, five stops around Ohio saw audiences of about 800 to 1,500. His message in the state, according to the AP: I'm just like you. He's emphasizing similarities from Big Ten fandom to the smell of farm fields. "This reminds me of the gym Janna would have gone to in high school," he told one audience, referring to his wife. And in Zanesville, Ohio: "I almost said, 'Hello, Janesville.' That's where I'm from."

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and his wife Janna applaud as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Marion, Ohio on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. The storm on the East Coast caused Mitt Romney...
Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and his wife Janna applaud as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally...   (AP Photo/Mike Munden)
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