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Paul Ryan welcomed home with massive rally in Wisconsin

Jeffrey Phelps / AP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan a welcome home rally Sunday, Aug. 12, in Waukesha, Wis.

WAUKESHA, Wis.-- The largest crowd of the campaign so far for a Mitt Romney event welcomed home favorite son Rep. Paul Ryan at a massive rally here in the congressman's district Sunday night, pushing the GOP's vice presidential nominee to tears as he took the stage, setting off cheers with two simple words:

"Hi mom."

With that, voice cracking, Ryan showed his Wisconsin credentials to a crowd the Romney campaign hopes will be emblematic of the charismatic congressman's support in the Badger state, a reliably Democratic enclave the Republican candidate hopes to turn red this fall. 

"My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, a little Spotted Cow, Leinie's, and some Miller," Ryan said, mentioning two well-known local beers. "I was raised on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers. I like to hunt here, I like to fish here, I like to snowmobile here. I even think ice fishing is interesting."

"I'm a Wisconsinite through and through," Ryan said to cheers from a crowd which contained many members of Ryan's extended family, and which the campaign estimated to be more than ten thousand strong, likely the largest turnout ever for a Romney event.

The energy generated by Ryan seemed to inspire the man at the top of ticket, who took on a heckler midway through his own remarks, then turned the moment into an indictment of President Obama's campaign, who's tactics have riled Romney in recent weeks.

Obama gives Ryan a double-edged welcome to the race

"You see young man, this group here is respectful of other people’s rights to be  heard," Romney said as the heckler was removed. "And you ought to find yourself a different place to be disruptive, because here we believe in listening to people with dignity and respect."

"There’s no question but if you follow the campaign of Barack Obama, he’s going to do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest negative campaign in history. We’re not going to let that happen," Romney continued. "This is going to be a campaign about ideas about the future of America. This is a campaign about greatness, about America’s future for your children, for the world. Mr. President take you campaign out of the gutter, let’s talk about the real issues that America faces."

Romney and Ryan were introduced by two other leading figures in the Republican party nationally, both born and raised here in Wisconsin: RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and Governor Scott Walker, who recently survived a recall election and has become a rallying point for Republicans nationwide.

"Isn't it great to have a cheesehead on the ballot?" Walker asked the crowd.
On Monday, Ryan will campaign solo for the GOP ticket for the first time, attending the state fair in Iowa, setting up something of a showdown in the Hawkeye state, with President Obama hitting the stump in Western Iowa then as well.