JANESVILLE, Wis. - "Hello Janesville, it's good to be home," said Wisconsin congressman and expected Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
In his hometown of Janesville, Wis. Monday morning, nearly 2,000 supporters showed up to send him off to the Republican National Convention being held in Tampa, Fla. this week.
Republicans have officially opened the convention in a shortened session Monday that will culminate with the nomination of Mitt Romney to be president.
Tropical Storm Isaac is forcing the GOP to cram four days of speeches and videos into three.
Ryan, obviously a much-needed attendee at the RNC, spoke to supporters in the gymnasium at Craig High School, his alma mater.
He focused on the economy, family values and jobs.
He also touched on the economic hardships that have hit Janesville - specifically the closing of the General Motors plant. As well as claiming that Obama administration isn't helping get the nation's economy back on track.
"Flourish entrepreneurs and small businesses so people can get back on their feet. That's exactly what the Romney plan for a stronger middle class is all about doing," said Ryan.
But his speech didn't start off without interruption.
Not long after Ryan came out to a raucous ovation, two protesters shouted out to Ryan, which prompted the crowd to begin chanting "U-S-A!"
They were eventually escorted out amid cheers from Ryan supporters.
Obviously favored by the hometown crowd, Ryan shifted focus to the Romney-Ryan ticket.
"When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, employment went down, household incomes went up $5,000 and he reached across the aisle – he didn't demonize Democrats – he worked with Democrats and he balanced the budget without raising taxes," said Ryan. "That's the kind of leadership we need."
Ryan will spend the rest of the day Monday working with aides before heading to Tampa Tuesday. He's scheduled to speak Wednesday.
Governor Walker prepares for speech
However, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is already in Tampa, preparing for his speech Tuesday night.
In a conference call with the media, a hoarse-voiced Walker says he plans to keep his speech short and also highlight one resident who benefited from his policies over the past two years.
He says that means touching on his victorious recall election which stemmed from the elimination of nearly all collective bargaining rights for public employees to balance a $3.6 billion budget deficit back in 2011.
"Certainly talking about the difference between those who put their faith in success of more people being dependent on the government versus those of us, down here, who believe success is ultimately measured by how many fewer people are dependent on the government," said Walker.
As to whether Ryan's Wisconsin popularity is overshadowing Romney, Walker says that's not the case.
"I think for a lot us, particularly those of us who know Paul, in Wisconsin, it's made us think that much more highly of Mitt Romney," said Walker.
Democratic National Convention next week
The Democratic National Convention may not be until next week, but the Obama campaign still has a view on the RNC.
A spokesman for President Barack Obama's campaign says the GOP is bringing in Hollywood producers and advertisers to reinvent Mitt Romney and his campaign.
Under Romney's leadership, the spokesman goes on to say the middle class was on the losing end, with jobs being outsourced, and companies going bankrupt.
"The convention, for them, might be a reinvention opportunity. But the American people will remember the truth about Mitt Romney's record," said Ben Labolt.
Democrats will hold their convention in Charlotte, N.C. from September 4th – 6th.
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