BOWLING GREEN — Some tailgaters and Falcons fans at Saturday’s Bowling Green State University-Miami University football game got a taste of presidential campaign excitement along with their chicken wings and hot dogs.
Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a visit before the game to campaign amid fans in and around the stadium.
Mr. Ryan’s alma mater is Miami University. The candidate flew to Toledo from a campaign stop in Youngstown earlier Saturday.
Although he did not make any formal remarks, Mr. Ryan greeted several supporters and volunteers, including Allan Block, chairman of The Blade’s parent company, Block Communications Inc., and two daughters of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green). He then went onto the field at Doyt Perry Stadium with his wife, Janna, and children Charles, Sam, and Elizabeth.
Surrounded by Secret Service officers and a media and campaign entourage, the Wisconsin congressman slowly made his way through the end zone and sidelines area of the stadium, greeting fans seated in the first row, chatting, and posing for pictures.
At one point he joked, “I don’t see any Miami people yet.”
Mr. Ryan’s stop in Bowling Green was part of a hard push by the campaign of GOP nominee Mitt Romney to win Ohio and its 18 electoral votes. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan appeared together at a rally in Lancaster, Ohio, on Friday. Saturday marked the fourth of the last five days Mr. Romney spent campaigning in the battleground state.
Mr. Ryan also met and spoke with BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, who accompanied him around the stadium. Mr. Ryan was also seen speaking with BGSU trustee Bob Sebo.
Many in the sparsely populated stands applauded and cheered as Mr. Ryan left the stadium to weave through the crowds to a tent of College Republicans and other supporters.
“We’re very excited to have Paul Ryan here. We couldn’t be happier to have him,” said Danielle Watson, president of the school’s College Republicans group. Citing Mr. Ryan’s visit as well as President Obama’s recent stop at the school, student Andy Jones said, “It’s really cool how this campus is getting revitalized about politics now.”
During his visit to the university last month, Mr. Obama presented himself as a champion for young graduates seeking jobs in a speech at the school’s Stroh Center.
A statement Saturday from the Obama campaign also emphasized the President’s policies concerning students, saying the average BGSU student receives $3,927 annually in federal Pell Grants and an estimated 1,190 young adults in Wood County who otherwise would have lacked insurance now have it through their parents’ plan because of the President’s health-care changes.
Just outside the Republican tent, Mr. Ryan and his children played a bean-bag toss game emblazoned with Romney logos.
The congressman also spoke to several former BGSU players from the 1991-92 championship team. The men told him they enjoyed his recent debate performance against Vice President Joe Biden. “We were really impressed how you kept your composure,” one of the former players told him.
As Mr. Ryan left the tailgating area, one protester was visible, holding signs that read, “Debate Climate Change,” and “R Money,” mimicking the Romney logo.
Mr. Ryan will return to Ohio on Monday for a stop in Cincinnati.
Before Mr. Ryan’s visit to Bowling Green, Katherine Archuleta, Obama for America National political director, and Mike Zickar, Wood County Democratic Party chairman, spoke to Obama volunteers before they went door to door to campaign.
Mr. Zickar called Mr. Ryan “one of the most polarizing Republicans in Washington,” according to remarks from the Obama campaign.
Contact Kate Giammarise at:
email@example.com or 419-724-6091 or on Twitter @KateGiammarise.