Discuss as:

Ryan plays up roots at suburban Milwaukee rally


WAUKESHA, WI – Paul Ryan played up his Badger State roots in suburban Milwaukee on Monday, hoping to add Wisconsin to the Republican column in a presidential election for the first time since 1984.

Speaking at a town hall with just 22 days before the election, the Republican vice presidential nominee encouraged the crowd to vote early, which voters can do beginning in a week, on Oct. 22.

“Let’s not forget, early voting starts pretty soon, so you can vote early, you can vote early absentee so that you can make sure we work on making phone calls and getting people to the polls because you know what we learned here in Wisconsin?” the seven-term Wisconsin congressman said before the roughly 1,300 people at the event. “We learned that if you’d say to people here’s who I am, this is what I believe in, and this is what I'm going to do, in Wisconsin we elect them and then they go do it and that’s exactly what we’re going to do for the United States of America we’re going to take on these challenges in this country.”

Wisconsin -- which is considered a battleground state by NBC News -- has 10 electoral votes to award in the upcoming election and both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama’s campaigns are putting an emphasis here. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll showed Obama leading Romney in the state, 50 percent to 45 percent.

”Let’s make sure that we win Wisconsin. Let’s get out to the polls. Let’s get people there. We are on a winning streak here in Wisconsin. Let’s keep that winning streak going,” Ryan, joined by both of his brothers sitting beside him, said at Carroll University.

Though Wisconsin is generally seen as more sympathetic to Democrats in presidential contests, Republicans have made significant inroads here in recent year thanks to Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a native of the state, and Gov. Scott Walker, who survived a recall election after curbing public workers' collective bargaining rights.

While Walker joined Ryan here today, both Walker and Priebus appeared with Ryan at a fundraiser for former governor and current U.S. Senate candidate, Tommy Thompson, Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee.

“I think it is wonderful that Wisconsin has become the epicenter of politics – Republican politics -- we are on a role ladies and gentlemen. And these three champions back here are the current and the future leaders of the Republican Party,” Thompson -- who is running in a tight race with Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin --  said at the Harley Davidson Museum as he motioned towards Ryan, Walker, and Priebus.

Ryan's Wisconsin roots were on full display early Monday morning as he gave a shout out to his favorite football team during his ninth public event in the state.

“Nothing better than going to bed with 6 TDs under Aaron Rodgers’s belt, huh? That was an awesome game, I got to tell you to go down to Texas against a 5-0 team on the road and have that kind of performance it reminds me of what it's going to look like on November the 6th,” he said, noting the Packers tie he was wearing.

The VP nominee heads to Ohio, another crucial state, this afternoon where he will hold a rally in Cincinnati.