Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a campaign stop in western Henrico county on Friday as part of his second swing through the state in only his first week on the Romney ticket.
The event at Deep Run High School drew a substantial crowd of activists and well-wishers. It also drew the traveling press corps, which, like a roving band of electronic minstrels, was marched in a side door to the event and promptly began searching for electrical outlets and places to stash their luggage.
Before Ryan took the stage, a series of Virginia electeds got their turn at the mic. Sen. Ryan McDougle kicked things off by pulling out a map of Virginia, his gift to Vice President Joe Biden, who on an earlier swing through the state managed to confuse the commonwealth with North Carolina.
Kay Cole James followed McDougle to offer the invocation. But before she did that, she pointed out how refreshing it was to have folks on the ticket who “had the audacity to believe in prayer.” That got the crowd going.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling took to the podium next and delivered an electric performance, bringing repeated cheers and even some foot stomping in the bleachers from the crowd.
In short, Bolling stole the show.
Next up was Rep. Rob Wittman. Knowing he had a very tough act to follow, Wittman made remarks that were more policy oriented. However, he did manage to coin what could be the most unusual description of the Romney-Ryan ticket I’ve heard so far: “The frugal dudes.”
It would fit on a bumper sticker…
Next up: Gov. Bob McDonnell. McDonnell got a rousing reception and provided a strong set-up for Ryan, who came to the podium with mic in hand and proceeded to talk for 20 minutes (without a teleprompter). Listening closely, it was a fairly wonky speech. Talk of entitlement reform, crony capitalism, energy independence, tax and spending reform, job training and more. Ryan started off a bit hoarse, but finished strong and the crowd obviously liked what it was hearing.
The pressies? Eh, they had heard it all before. Most of they were either scanning web sites (was that guy really looking at Drudge?) or Twitter. One amusing moment…during Bolling’s remarks, he led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Most press types got to their feet, a handful managed to put their right hands over their hearts and fewer still utter the actual Pledge. In general, they looked a bit put out for having to stand up for anything that wasn’t related to their luggage.