Volunteers rewarded with tarmac visit with Ryan
Noelle Banser was among the dozen volunteers who got the chance to meet US Rep. Paul Ryan this evening at Landmark Aviation, a private airport near Greensboro.
A member of the Charlotte Airport USO, Banser makes what she calls "stealth rosaries" without metal and that use only military-approved colors for soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. She gave one of the rosaries to Ryan, who is Catholic, as he made his way down the line of volunteers.
It was not Banser's first time meeting Ryan. She got to sit behind the congressman in Mooresville in August during the first campaign appearance in North Carolina the day after Romney announced Ryan as his running mate.
"I'm just as impressed by him in person as I am by him on TV," she said. "He took a lot of time with us. He didn't seem rushed. He's very gracious. I'm sure he's very tired."
The vice-presidential candidate did not make any statements or take any questions from the press, but appeared to enjoy his visit with the volunteers. Ryan arrived at 8:08 p.m., signed autographs and shook hands. He could be seen laughing and gesturing in an emphatic but light-hearted manner. After 15 minutes, the candidate stepped into a motorcade and departed.
An aide with the Romney/Ryan campaign's advance team said Ryan will be appearing tomorrow morning in Danville, Va. The campaign has not disclosed additional appearances during the week.
The Obama campaign took Ryan's visit as an opportunity to ridicule their opponents only a day a leaked statement by Romney at a fundraiser in May that has received ample and almost universally negative publicity.
"On the heels of Mitt Romney's shocking comments that it's not his job to worry about 47 percent of Americans, today his campaign is sending Paul Ryan to the Greensboro airport solely for a photo op with local press," said Cameron French, Organizing for America press secretary for North Carolina, in a prepared statement. "The Romney-Ryan campaign is clearly more interested in the pageantry of running for office than in offering substantive policy proposals for middle-class North Carolinians. It's hard to serve as president of all Americans when you fail the character test by writing off half the country you want to serve."
Romney went on to say in the video posted by Mother Jones magazine: "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not."
Other volunteers at the airport to greet Ryan said that they were not allowed to speak to reporters, but campaign staff stipulated to reporters only that the candidate would not be available to speak to the press.
Banser, the Charlotte volunteer, said she has made 18,000 phone calls on behalf of the Romney campaign since July 1.
"My passion for the Romney-Ryan campaign is the same as my passion for America," she said. "I am very concerned about the direction of America. If I could see the debt going down and unemployment going down I wouldn't be as concerned. Nobody can fix this in four year. It will take a long time to turn it around."