DES MOINES, IA -- Paul Ryan’s first solo campaign stop since being announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate was marred by constant interruptions from loud protesters Monday while visiting the Hawkeye State on the same day President Obama kicked off his bus tour here.
Ryan’s "welcome" at the popular Iowa State Fair -- where he was never knocked off message -- was similar to receptions he has received in his neighboring home state of Wisconsin, which saw tremendous amounts of protest during its fight over collective bargaining and its recall elections.
“It was great,” Ryan said about the event following his roughly 10-minute speech at the Des Moines Register’s Soap Box stage. “You know, in Wisconsin, we've been dealing with this sort of thing with these recall elections. It was an overwhelming crowd of support and it was exciting to do it and I love coming to the fair.”
The scene at the fairgrounds was very chaotic as Ryan attempted to make his way through the crowd –- shaking hands with folks along the way near the food vendors. During the speech, two women even attempted to get on the stage before security was forced to pull them away.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who made the trip to Iowa with his fellow Wisconsinite Sunday night, didn’t seem too concerned about the environment.
“It’s an open forum. Public discourse right?” he said.
The Wisconsin congressman –- just tapped as Romney’s VP two days ago -– ventured to the battleground state of Iowa without Romney to bracket Obama’s three-day bus tour in the state. Ryan walked around the fair with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Congressman Steve King by his side.
"I heard that President Obama is starting his bus tour today, and I heard he wasn't going to come to the Iowa state fair," Ryan told the crowd before getting interrupted by a women shouting about Medicare. He continued: "My guess is the reason that the reason President Obama isn't making it here from Council Bluffs is he only knows left turns, but as you see the president come through on his bus tour you may ask him the same question I get asked all over America. And that is: Where are the jobs Mr. President?"
Ryan, who spent most of the morning meeting with staff both in person and via teleconference -- failed to address a big issue locally.
The state of Iowa, like much of the Midwest, is suffering from a severe drought.
Asked about how he thinks the government could help in these circumstances, Ryan said, “We'll get into all these policy things later... I just want to enjoy the fair.”
A Ryan aide told reporters, however, that the congressman voted for the drought relief bill earlier this month -- the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act Of 2012 -- and blamed the inaction from Congress on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Ryan heads to Colorado for two private fundraisers Monday night and a public event Tuesday morning in the Denver area.