MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Mitt Romney and his vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan, will part ways Sunday after greeting voters at stops in North Carolina and Wisconsin, and will likely continue to campaign separately until the Republican Party's national convention later this month, a top Romney aide said.
Several thousand people on Sunday crowded into a Mooresville, N.C., car-care facility and the surrounding property hoping to catch a glimpse of the duo, who had no trouble rousing the crowd into a frenzy when they pledged to make President Obama a one termer and steer the economy back onto a more fiscally responsible path.
"I like the ticket," Amber Tevepaugh, of Mooresville, declared after watching Ryan and Romney.
But voters in other swing states may not be so enthused about Ryan, the author of a Republican plan to reduce spending and overhaul Medicare that Democrats have successfully used to scare voters.
While Romney aides say they aren't concerned that voters will reject Ryan, the campaign manifest suggests they are at least playing it safe for now by keeping Ryan out of Florida, where Romney is headed Sunday night.
Romney aide Kevin Madden said the split was not designed to steer Ryan away from a state heavily populated by senior voters who may be less receptive to Ryan's plan to reduce spending on Medicare.
"This has more to do with expanding our bandwidth," Madden said Sunday.
Madden said Ryan's middle-class, midwestern roots will be a helpful addition to the ticket in Great Lakes states and states like Iowa, where Ryan was headed Sunday night.
Ryan will appear at the Iowa State Fair on Monday.
"Iowa in particular, that's a state where his life story helps him communicate with voters there," Madden said.
Madden said Ryan will eventually appear in Florida. The Tampa Tribune is reporting that Ryan is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser in that state next week. And of course, he will be center stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month.
Ryan and Romney headed to High Point, N.C., Sunday after leaving Mooresville and more big crowds are expected. That's good news for the GOP, as the state narrowly chose Obama in 2008 but is now up for grabs. The latest poll shows Romney with a 5 percentage point edge and Ryan could help widen that lead.
Ryan reminded voters in Mooresville of the state's 9.4 unemployment rate and the 435,000 jobs that disappeared during the Obama administration. The GOP ticket would be much different, he said, to thunderous applause, and would steer the country away from higher federal spending, taxes and the looming implementation of the health care reform law.
"You could not have a better contrast than this," Ryan said.