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Ryan, Rice stump together in Ohio, visit Browns

BEREA, Ohio -- Making her first public appearance on the campaign trail with a member of the Romney-Ryan ticket, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spent part of Wednesday in the all-important battleground state of Ohio with Paul Ryan.

TV Pool

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman speak to the Cleveland Browns Oct. 17 in Berea, Ohio.

“I’m here because I want, like you, to see this country prosper, to see this country continue to be a place of unlimited opportunity, to see this country lead the world toward prosperity and liberty and peace," Rice said. "And so I’m here to support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in that quest."

The former President George W. Bush cabinet member spoke at the Republican National Convention in August this year on behalf of Mitt Romney and has also participated in fundraising efforts but this was a rare joint public appearance for her.

“What an example," Ryan said. "If you want to see the embodiment of the American idea, look no further than this leader off my right shoulder Condoleezza Rice." He added: "You know this is my second time following Condoleezza Rice…it's a little intimidating, tough act to follow.”

In Ryan’s fourth trip to Ohio in the past week, he praised Romney’s performance in last night’s presidential debate and criticized President Barack Obama for not offering new ideas.

“Cut through the clutter of all the attack ads and what did we see?" Ryan said. "We saw a president offering not a single new idea on how to turn things around. We saw a president not offer a single new idea or a lesson learned from the failures of the last four years. But what we saw in Governor Mitt Romney was a leader who has the solutions, who has the ideas on how to turn this economy around, how to get people back to work, and how to get America back on the right track, and that's what we're going to do on November the sixth right here in Ohio."

Ohio, which has begun early voting, remains a crucial battleground state that both Romney and Obama are spending a lot of resources on to try and capture the state’s 18 electoral votes.

Rice is an avid sports fan, and her favorite football team just happens to be from the Buckeye State -- the Cleveland Browns. Following the rally at Baldwin Wallace University that drew a crowd of roughly 1,200, Ryan and Rice, along with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, stopped by a Browns practice.

“I came by to say hello to my favorite NFL team," Rice said at the training complex as the Browns got their first win of the regular season last weekend against the Cincinnati Bangles. "And I am really thrilled about last Sunday. And, you know, it starts one game at a time. So one game and then another game and then another game, and I’m just really looking forward to a great rest of the season."

Ryan, as the team knelt on one knee by the three special guests, briefly addressed the team, as well: “You know I went to Miami of Ohio so half my friends are from Cleveland, half my friends are from Cincinnati, and all my friends from Cincinnati are pretty ticked off today.”

But, the Wisconsin congressman then confused one quarterback of the Browns for another.

“My wife’s from Oklahoma, so we’ve been watching you," Ryan said addressing Colt McCoy, the famed TEXAS quarterback. "You were really fun to watch at OSU. You guys got a great young team."

Ryan's comment, though, was intended for Brandon Weeden, who was drafted this year as the starting quarterback.

Secretary Rice pointed over at Weeden and, with a laugh, Ryan continued: “Oh yeah, there you are. Sorry. You always had a helmet on.”