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Rep. Ryan Headlines GOP Events In Colorado, Nevada


And while Joe Biden was attacking Paul Ryan in Virginia, the new Republican running mate was introducing himself to voters, working on his stump speech. So far, the Wisconsin congressman has campaigned exclusively in battleground states carried by Democrats in 2008. And yesterday, Ryan headlined his own events in Nevada and Colorado.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea has this report.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Jefferson County, Colorado, is one of those places that everyone watches in election years. Colorado is, of course, a battleground state. Jefferson is a battleground county. And that's why Paul Ryan was here yesterday, in a packed high school gym in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. After being heckled at the Iowa State Fair a day earlier, Ryan got nothing but love yesterday - starting with former congressman Bob Beauprez, who spoke of Ryan's intellect and his leadership.


BOB BEAUPREZ: There's something else that I think is very important to remember about Paul Ryan: He ain't Joe Biden.


GONYEA: Moments later, it was state Senate candidate Lang Sias.


GONYEA: Paul Ryan eventually took the stage to even bigger cheers. He began by noting that he'd already planned on being in Colorado this week - only on family vacation, not as a candidate for vice president.


GONYEA: Fourteeners is a reference to Colorado mountains that are at least 14,000 feet high. Officially, the Ryan speech was on the topic of energy independence.


GONYEA: There were jeers when he mentioned the Environmental Protection Agency. On the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, he accused the Obama administration of hindering energy development.


GONYEA: And he was cheered again, when he called for the approval of the Keystone oil pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. At times, Ryan demonstrated that he's mastered the rhythms of what will be his basic stump speech, rattling off phrases and lines with precision.


GONYEA: But there were times when the planned soundbites and punch lines didn't trip off the tongue so easily.


GONYEA: But as the audience filed out, reviews for this Tuesday morning event, during Ryan's opening week, were very positive. From Colorado, Ryan headed to Las Vegas. His schedule also features a lot of fundraisers - including one last night at the Venetian Hotel Resort and Casino, owned by Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who's contributed tens of millions of dollars to help Republicans defeat President Obama this year.

The Romney campaign yesterday closed last night's event to the press, though at previous fundraisers - those not held at private residences - the Romney campaign has allowed a pool reporter in. The campaign explained last night's exclusion by saying it was not a fundraising event, but a strategy session that it called, quote, "a finance meeting." Today, Paul Ryan heads to another battleground state, Ohio.

Don Gonyea, NPR News.


And Paul Ryan's home state was among some battlegrounds that held primaries yesterday. In Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, who spent four terms as governor, beat back a challenge from three fellow Republicans in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

MONTAGNE: The GOP sees Wisconsin as a key state to win control of the Senate. And in Florida, longtime congressman John Mica - facing a Tea Party freshman in a newly redrawn district - won. His victory is seen as a win for the Republican establishment. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.