COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- With 16 days until the Nov. 6 election, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan made his first visit to Western Iowa Sunday afternoon and asked voters in the key state for their help.
“We need your help,” Ryan said outside a Bass Pro Shops store here. “Iowa, you are so used to it. You are used to being the eye of the storm. You are used to seeing this. You have a responsibility and an opportunity and an obligation to help us get this country back on the right track.”
The speech came on the heels of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday morning showing President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney tied nationally -- both getting 47 percent of support among likely voters.
Alex Moe / NBC News
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan speaks in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Sunday.
In the swing state of Iowa -- which yields six electoral votes -- Obama is ahead of Romney by eight points – 51 percent to 43 percent – according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Thursday.
While Ryan has frequented the state since his selection as VP -- holding nine events in the Hawkeye State so far -- this speech before nearly 1,200 people marks his first visit to the Republican stronghold of Western Iowa. The Wisconsin congressman will hold an additional rally in Sioux City this afternoon.
With early voting underway in Iowa, Vice President Joe Biden visited the same shopping center complex on the border of Nebraska nearly three weeks ago, drawing a crowd of about 500.
Ryan, who rarely campaigns on Sundays, made several sports analogies.
“Big Ten country, that’s where we are. And in Big Ten country, we take care of our kids, we take care of our neighbors, we are honest, we tackle our problems, and we want to look back at this moment as the this time as the time we got it right,” the Wisconsin Packers fan said. “Look, right here at Bass Pro, it’s where we take our kids to teach them values. It’s where we look at the traditions we have in this country that made us so unique and so great.”
This is the Midwestern congressman’s second trip to the outdoors store on the trail. He stopped to buy his 10-year-old daughter Liza hunting gear at a Bass Pro Shops store in the battleground state of Ohio in late September.