Rep. Paul Ryan told a crowd at Deep Run High School in Henrico County today that Virginia will decide who wins the presidential election.
"Virginia is a very important state. You've heard it from everybody," said Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, noting that he has spent time hunting and fishing in the state.
"This is a state that has it all and it is a state that will determine it all -- and we have a clear choice."
Ryan addressed a crowd estimated at 3,700 in the school gym and in an overflow area. He is making his second swing through battleground Virginia in a week.
Ryan, wearing a blue, checked shirt with rolled up sleeves, said President Barack Obama inherited a difficult economic situation. "The problem is he made things much worse."
Ryan said Romney has a goal of creating 12 million jobs in the next four years, including 345,000 in Virginia.
He said Romney will push for energy independence with an "all-of-the-above" strategy and that Romney will return the nation to fiscal discipline.
"We can't keep spending money we don't have," Ryan said. "Not only are we mortgaging our children's future. We are hurting the economy today."
He said he and Romney want to "champion small businesses."
Romney knows "if you have a small business, you built that small business," Ryan said, referring to the president's July 13 "you didn't build that" comment in Roanoke.
Ryan also criticized the tenor of the president's campaign, saying: "Hope and change has become attack and blame."
In taking the stage Ryan paid tribute to "my buddy" Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who represents the 7th District, calling him "a great leader."
In 2010, Ryan, Cantor and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California released a book titled "Young Guns, a new generation of conservative leaders."
Ryan now heads to Fairfax County, where Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will join him for an afternoon rally at West Springfield High School. Tonight Ryan will attend a fundraiser in Arlington County.
Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, has taken the stage at Deep Run High School in Henrico County.
The crowd at the gymnasium, including the overflow, is estimated at 3,700. In November 2008, Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, addressed a crowd of nearly 8,000 in an event at the school's football field.
Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced Ryan, saying that President Barack Obama is offering "a campaign of recession and fear and division."
McDonnell called Ryan "a man of immense character" who is "a results-oriented, conservative leader for America."
Ahead of Ryan's appearance, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling warmed up the crowd by presenting an indictment of the president's record, punctuated with a refrain of "It's time for him to go."
"Who would have thought that we would long for the good old days of Jimmy Carter?" asked Bolling, Romney's campaign chairman in Virginia.
Rep. Robert J. Wittman, R-1st, who followed Bolling, criticized Obama's remark July 13 in Roanoke that "if you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Wittman said: "Anybody who says if you have a business you didn't build that, somebody else built that just doesn't get it."
Here's the president's Roanoke quote in the context of the speech:
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will appear with Ryan this afternoon at a rally at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is due to take the stage at Henrico County's Deep Run High School in less than an hour.
It’s Ryan’s second trip to the area in less than a week, having visited Ashland last Saturday after being announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Nearly 2,500 people are expected to attend today’s rally, which will also feature Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
Hundreds have already poured into the school’s gymnasium to hear from the Wisconsin congressman, who was announced as Romney’s running mate last week in Norfolk.
Parking was an issue for many, as the school’s parking lot, and that of neighboring Twin Hickory Elementary, reached capacity early. Hundreds were forced to line the streets of nearby suburban neighborhoods.
Outside the event, merchants peddled buttons, signs and Romney-Ryan T-shirts for $20 a pop.
(This has been a breaking news update. Check back for more details as they become available. This morning's story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch is posted below.)
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mitt Romney's running mate, will hold a rally this morning at Deep Run High School in western Henrico County.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is slated for 11 a.m. To RSVP and get a ticket, visit http://ryaninglenallen.eventbrite.com/. Doors open at 9 a.m. The school is at 4801 Twin Hickory Road in Glen Allen.
Ryan headlined a Romney fundraiser at the Richmond Marriott Thursday night. He will attend a rally at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County this afternoon and another fundraiser tonight in Arlington County.
Ryan is making his second Virginia trip in a week.
On Saturday Romney introduced his running mate in Norfolk. The pair then held a rally at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland before finishing the Virginia leg of their swing-state bus tour with a stop in Manassas.