GOP candidate Mitt Romney, center, with his wife Ann and running mate Rep.… (Pablo Martinez Monsivais,…)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan, his new running mate, were exuberant after their first public appearance together as ticket-mates, saying they were feeding off the energy from the large crowds they saw Saturday and felt like their fight with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was on more equal footing.
“Exciting day, exciting day,” Romney told reporters in the back of his private plane on its way to Charlotte, N.C. “A lot of energy, a great day. It’s now two-on-two instead of two-on-one. This is good -- they’ve got someone else to pick on too.”
Ryan said he was stunned by the outpouring of support. He said when he received the offer, his first thought was: “It’s gone from the surreal to the real.”
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He held up his cellphone and said, “This thing is about to get short-circuited.”
“I was amazed by the energy in the crowd, the people who just want to see us take the budget in the right direction. It was very exciting,” Ryan said. “We’ve got the wind behind us.”
The crowds were among the largest Romney has seen on the campaign trail, and the people were palpably excited by Romney’s selection of Ryan. At the final rally of the day, in Manassas, about 8,000 people braved sweltering weather to get into an outdoor rally, while many more listened from outside.
“You saw the response of our crowds, being very excited to meet Paul Ryan, get to know him,” said Romney, whose 11-year-old granddaughter Chloe accompanied him to the back of the plane. “A lot of them know him pretty well already by virtue of the things he’s fighting for, but it just means one more person to drive a very strong message. Because for us, this is a campaign of ideas and a direction for America – what’s America going to be? What kind of nation are we going to be?”