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Republican VP Ryan stumps, raises cash in Virginia

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Photo - Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will speak at two Virginia high schools on Friday. (Examiner file photo)
Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will speak at two Virginia high schools on Friday. (Examiner file photo)
Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

Less than a week after Republican Mitt Romney chose Virginia as the backdrop to announce his long-anticipated choice for a vice presidential candidate, Romney is sending Rep. Paul Ryan back to the critical swing state to stump on his own.

Ryan will stop at a pair of Virginia high schools Friday, first in the Richmond area with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and then in Springfield, as he continues to introduce himself to American voters.

A poll released Thursday shows the addition of Ryan to the ticket may have boosted Romney in Virginia.

The PurplePoll showed Romney and Ryan with a slight edge in the state over President Obama and Vice President Biden, 48 percent to 45 percent. About 46 percent of those polled had a favorable view of Ryan compared with 40 percent who viewed him unfavorably.

Ryan on Friday night will hit up wealthy donors at the Westin hotel in Arlington, where dinner will cost $15,000 per person and a VIP photo reception runs $1,000, according to an email Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock sent to supporters. Comstock, R-McLean, co-chairs Romney's Virginia campaign.

Ryan held a fundraiser Thursday evening in Richmond that was attended by McDonnell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Virginia Democrats used Ryan's visit to attack Romney over women's reproductive rights. Obama holds a large advantage over Romney among female voters.

"As more and more women learn what [the VP pick] entails, what Rep. Ryan is about and all of his political career, they will understand the Romney-Ryan ticket is not going to be supportive of women's rights," said state Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton. "They are not remotely concerned about the issues that impact women."

But Republicans have tried to shift the conversation away from women's health and toward the impact of a sputtering economy on women. How effective Romney is in pushing that message in Virginia is critical to his prospects there, said Anita McBride, the former chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush now at American University.

(Watch a video interview with McBride)

"The Democratic Party has traditionally tried to make [elections about] women's issues, social issues, exclusively, and they have spent a lot of time establishing their media blitz according to those issues," McBride said. "It's worked for them in the past. I don't believe it's working for them anymore. I think it narrowly defines what women potentially care about."

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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