With Obama touring storm damage, Ryan passes on political attacks

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. gestures while speaking during a campaign event, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Eau Claire, Wis. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Paul Ryan
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. As he kicked off a daylong campaign trip through his home state, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan promised a "renaissance" across the world and America as he stuck to a message largely focused on a positive portrayal of the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.

Noticeably absent from the vice presidential nominee's speech was the usual slate of attacks on President Obama's policies, likely out of deference to the crisis that continues to grip the East Coast in the wake of Sandy, the storm that hit on Monday.

All of the top candidates took a day off from campaigning on Tuesday, with both men on the Republican ticket visiting "victory centers" to collect supplies for storm victims. Ryan opened his event here this morning again with a request that people donate money to the Red Cross.

"We've had our share of natural disasters, but we don't have hurricanes. We've turned on the TV and we've seen the devastation. Let's keep the people of the Northeast in our prayers today. Let's also think about if we can, about sending some help," he said.

Instead of attacks, Ryan promoted Romney as a candidate with the country's best interests at heart - and one who will be able to work with both sides. During an Ohio bus tour over the weekend, both candidates played up their bipartisan credentials, though their words may pale in comparison to the images of Mr. Obama touring storm damage in New Jersey today alongside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a top Romney supporter and onetime vice presidential possibility.

"What we need is somebody who gets out of bed every morning thinking about how do I solve these problems? Who do I talk to? How do I bring people together? How do I break the Gordian knot of gridlock in Washington," Ryan said.

He urged Wisconsinites to vote early or in-person absentee so they can spend the weekend and Election Day talking to friends and neighbors. Mr. Obama is still leading in the state in most polls, but with narrower and narrower margins that have the GOP ticket convinced, especially with native son Ryan, that they could turn it red for the first time since 1984.

Ryan hoped to convince them by painting a picture of a brighter future. "2013 could be the year in which we get our economy growing, we start creating 12 million new jobs, we put these pro-growth policies in place and we reaffirm the American idea by electing Mitt Romney the next president of the United States," he said.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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