Mary Altaffer / AP
Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna arrive at a campaign event on Sunday in Minneapolis.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – In a sign that the Republican ticket is trying to expand the electoral map before Tuesday’s election, Paul Ryan held his first public campaign rally since being selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in the traditionally blue state of Minnesota with just two days to go before Election Day.
“Minnesota, you gonna help us win this election?” Ryan asked a nearly 6,500-person crowd in the Twin Cities.
Until recently, neither Ryan nor his running mate paid much attention to the North Star state, which President Barack Obama won in 2008 and which awards 10 electoral votes.
Eric Thayer / Reuters
Supporters listen as Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan attends a campaign event in Minneapolis, Minn. on Sunday.
Ryan and his wife, Janna, ate dinner in downtown St. Paul last week, and he held a fundraiser in Minneapolis on Oct. 13. But Sunday’s rally marks the first public event for either Ryan or Romney during the general election.
Speaking at an airport hangar at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with about 48 hours before Election Day, Ryan asked Minnesotans to unite behind Romney-Ryan.
“We could use your help, Minnesota. How about it? What do you say?” he said to cheers. “Look at this: Vikings for Romney-Ryan. Even Vikings fans and Packers fans can lie down together for this country.”
He even joked about how he is constantly confused for being from Minnesota.
Ryan said: “You know, as I travel around the country and this has been my story for years, in D.C., people say ‘Oh yeah, Ryan, you're that budget guy from Minnesota, right?’ I say, ‘No I’m from Wisconsin, close. We’re the Catholic deer hunters; they are the Lutheran deer hunters.”
It was Ryan’s largest solo campaign crowd to date and he fed off the energy in the state that borders his home state of Wisconsin.
“You know this is a critical election. You know it's a critical moment. We can't handle four more years of this, and Minnesota, work with us. Join with us. Together we can do this. Two more days and we get America back on the right track you guys. Two more days!” Ryan said.
Sunday’s stop in the Twin Cities area is one of four events for Ryan as he also held events in Wisconsin and Ohio earlier in the day and will head to Colorado for a final rally tonight.