FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - In his only political event today, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan urged Floridians to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy by donating money to the Red Cross or helping to gather and package supplies at the campaign's victory offices in various swing states.
"Let's send our prayers and our thoughts to the people in the Northeast. Look, Floridians, you are no stranger to big storms. You know better than anyone on the need for communities to come together and for neighbors to help one another," Ryan said.
He said that former Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., who introduced Ryan at the rally, told him that hundreds of utility crews from the state were driving north to assist with the storm, which could affect tens of millions along the eastern seaboard. Ryan was supposed to attend two additional events today in Florida, in the cities of Melbourne and Lakeland, but the Romney campaign suspended all additional campaign activities for Monday and Tuesday.
"Thank God for men and women like that. Thank you for sending your people. That's what we do for each other in this country," he said.
Ryan told the crowd that he and Romney have been in touch with regional leaders. His campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in a morning campaign update that Romney had communicated with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and New Jersey Gov. Chris Chrsitie, both Republicans. They did not indicate he had reached out to Maryland's Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley.
But the campaign has turned its field operations into a mobile support system for storm victims, sending the campaign bus in Virginia to deliver supplies and using field offices in Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire to gather and package donations. Ryan urged the hundreds of people who gathered to hear him speak in Florida to "swing by, give a hand."
"You know firsthand what people are going to need. And so, since we all love this country, let's put our neighbors in the north in our prayers. Lets do what we need to do to help them," he said.