Ryan smells success in ‘God’s country’
MONTROSE — In a carefully choreographed campaign appearance here on Friday, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan strayed from the script and joked with a crowd of more than 1,200, many of whom he identified early on as ranchers.
“I can smell success right now,” Ryan said as whiffs from a nearby feedlot wafted into the hangar at Montrose Regional Airport. “I love that smell. It makes me feel at home.”
Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin who leads the House Budget Committee, reprised many of the themes he raised in an appearance last month at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, when he hammered President Barack Obama for continued high unemployment and mounting debt.
Ryan took note of the economic slowdown as depicted by Friday’s jobs report, which, at 7.9 percent, was higher than when Obama took office in 2009.
In response to the economic doldrums, Obama has “decided to divide, distort and distract,” Ryan said, praising Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as the right person to take over the nation’s leadership.
Ryan’s appearance was just what Colleen Avery wanted to hear.
“I have believed since I saw Paul Ryan debate President Obama on health care that he would someday be in line for or close to the presidency,” Avery said.
Avery, a resident of Riverton, Wyo., seized the opportunity to see Ryan while visiting her mother, Vivian Baker, in Eckert.
“We just needed to get charged up,” John Loberger of Montrose said, sporting a jacket with a Green Bay Packers logo. He and his wife, Debra, moved from Green Bay, Wis., to Montrose 11 years ago and he routinely wears it, he said.
Still, Packer green and gold and Wisconsin badger red were well represented in the crowd.
Looking over the crowd, Andy Grange, who works for Superior Alarm in Montrose, said people at the campaign event were looking for reassurance of an economic recovery.
“There’s a lot tradespeople here,” Grange said. “I see electricians, plumbers, concrete guys, nailbenders. We’ve got to get this show on the road so we can get back to work.”
Ryan urged attendees to contribute to the American Red Cross for the storm-stricken Northeast.
He and his wife, Janna, arrived by jet, which landed in front of the just-opened hangar door.
“This is God’s country,” Ryan said, “between the San Juans and the Elks” referring to mountain ranges that overlook the Uncompahgre Valley.