Oct. 29, 2012
Afternoon sunlight outlined the crowd streaming into the airline hanger as the doors opened nearly two hours before the vice presidential candidate was scheduled to speak.
On the evening of Oct. 21, the Romney-Ryan campaign held a rally open to the public near the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport at 1575 Aviation Way. Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., was the featured speaker.
The Josh Abbott band, a Texas country group, melded notes from their fiddles and guitars with the conversations of people trickling into the building, gradually building in intensity as the light faded.
The energy in the hanger heightened as people gathered, and the music grew more political in tone, ending one of their more popular songs with improvised lyrics, “She’s like Texas, and she supports Mitt Romney.”
About an hour before Ryan was scheduled to speak, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, addressed the audience, opening the rally with the El Paso County Sheriff’s honor guard, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.
In his speech, Lamborn supported Romney’s economic plans and displayed enthusiasm for Ryan’s upcoming appearance. Kyle Hybl, another Republican and one of the regents of University of Colorado, spoke after Lamborn.
Jennifer George, Colorado House of Representatives candidate for District 18, was the next speaker, taking the opportunity to describe her own campaign goals as well as support Romney and Ryan.
George advocated the need for the government to prepare for future generations, saying that her children inspired her to run for public office.
Rock music reverberated over the sound system concert-style, the volume matching the audience’s anticipation and enthusiasm while they waited for the main speaker. In between each song, the crowd erupted into applause, expecting Ryan’s appearance.
About 20 minutes after he was scheduled to start, the entire back wall of the hanger opened from the center as Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Ryan stepped onto the stage. Supporters cheered as a united mass of hands and banner-waving.
“The last four years have been defined by bailouts, dropouts and handouts,” Gardner said, arguing a Romney presidency would be different as he stepped away from the lectern.
“Guess what? You got a big choice to make,” Ryan said. “In a little more than two weeks, you’ll look back at this moment. You’ll know that we did what we needed to do to put our country back on the right track, to save our country for our young ones that are here with us.”
He mentioned fond memories of vacationing in Colorado and complimented the military community, adding, “This is a beautiful state. This is the state that has shown America what leadership looks like. …. You’ve got entrepreneurs, you’ve got immigrants that have [come] here and made a difference, and you’ve got a piece of the finest military the world has ever seen.”
“We’re not just picking … who’s going to be president for four more years,” Ryan said. “This is a generation-shaping election. We are deciding what kind of a people we are going to be and what kind of a country we are going to be for at least a generation.”
On the subject of the economic climate and President Obama, Ryan said, “The president – he can’t right his record. He can’t come here and tell you how he’s made things better. He can’t come here and tell you about the people living in poverty today – 15 percent of our countrymen and women, 46 million people. He can’t tell you about the 23 million Americans struggling to find work today.”
“He won’t even come and tell you about the only thing he [seems] eager to cut in government – that is our military,” Ryan said.
“Since he cannot run on his record, he is going to try to distract you, he is going to try to distort and he is going to try and win by default, and we’re not going to fall for it, are we?”
Ryan continued, “You know, four years ago, he said when he was running for president that if you don’t have any fresh ideas, you use … tactics to scare voters. That if you don’t have a good record to run on, you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things. That’s exactly what he said four years ago, and unfortunately … that’s precisely what he’s become.”
“The president himself [said] on TV a few weeks ago that he can’t change Washington from the inside. … If he can’t change Washington, then I say we change presidents,” he said.
“We are not going to cut our military,” Ryan assured the audience. “We have so much energy in this country. We have so much energy in this state. Let’s use that energy and put people back to work.”
Ryan looked to the future and what a Romney administration would look like.
“On day one, when they ask Mitt Romney, ‘Can we build the eastern pipeline,’ he’ll say, ‘Yes, you can build that!'”
The vice presidential candidate emphasized the importance of Colorado voters in an election decided by only a few swing states.
“Colorado, you can decide,” he said. “You’re one of the key battleground states. You have the ability in the palm of your voting hands – the ability to shape the future of this country for yourselves and your kids.”