BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was joined by a very special guest tonight at a fundraiser in a Detroit suburb: rockstar Kid Rock.
Michigan native Kid Rock, singer of the Romney campaign’s unofficial theme song ‘Born Free,’ joined Ryan — an avid rock music fan — and roughly 160 others at the affluent Oakland Hills Country Club here.
“I was going to come out, be a little wisenheimer and say, 'Guess which one is running for vice president,'” Kid Rock, who wore a white fedora, told the crowd inside a ballroom on the main floor about his original plan “Then they would introduce Paul and I would walk out and say hello.”
Ryan, the seven-term Wisconsin congressman, was not shy to admit he is a fan of the popular singer.
“So one of us is running for vice president but only one of us listened to 'Bawitdaba' on the way over here in the motorcade with the Secret Service,” Ryan said of Kid Rock's breakout single to laughs. “I’ve been listening to Kid Rock for a long, long time.”
While the campaign would not directly confirm if guests knew in advance Kid Rock’s presence tonight at the fundraiser within Bloomfield Township, where Mitt Romney's family once lived, one man did bring a large guitar to the country club asking for an autograph.
Guests paid anywhere from $500 to $20,000 to get a glimpse of the congressman and Kid Rock. No estimation was available by the campaign for how much was raised. It isn't the first time Bob Ritchie — Kid Rock's given name — has appeared at an event on Romney's behalf; Kid Rock and his band performed "Born Free" at a culminating rally for Romney shortly before the pivotal Michigan primary.
Friday night’s event – the first of two fundraisers for Ryan tonight – followed a public campaign event featuring both Romney and Ryan in the state the presumptive GOP presidential nominee was born.
Ryan’s first fundraiser in The Great Lakes State had its share of politics and attacks as well.
He specifically mentioned former Democratic President Bill Clinton for the first time since being tapped as the VP candidate in an attempt to illustrate the difference between Clinton and President Barack Obama.
“What we want to do is not just beat up the other guy and try to win by default, that is what President Obama is going to do. He can’t run on his record, he didn’t moderate his positions like Bill Clinton did, he went hard to the left.,” Ryan said. “So he is going to have to divide, distract, demagogue, distort to try and win by default.”
And the harsh words for President Obama didn’t end there.
“You know he speaks to people as if they are stuck in their station in life. As if they are victims of circumstance outside their control and the government is here to help them cope. That is cynical. That is not freedom," Ryan said.
The Wisconsin lawmaker, who characterized Michigan as one of a “handful of states” that will determine the election, heads to the battleground state of Ohio on Saturday to campaign again with running mate.