Last night, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan spoke at his alma mater, Miami University in Oxford. As WYSO’s Jerry Kenney reports, Ryan’s status as an alumnus won him a hometown-like reception, but what he had to say also struck a chord with students there.
Before last night’s event I had a chance to speak with Tyler Sinclair. He’s heading back to Miami this fall to begin his graduate studies. Tyler is also a member of the campus College Republicans. When I spoke to him he said he thought that even students who voted for President Barack Obama in the last election may swing their votes over to Mitt Romney. Here’s part of what he had to say.
"We've had almost four years of economic hopelessness essentially. My generation's worried about the economic future and security, and I think that when you see a man like Paul Ryan then that gives us hope, that gives us energy, and that makes us want to go out and win this election even more than we already did.”
I spoke with Tyler again after the event. He says Paul Ryan did talk a lot about the economy and the future of a generation just entering the work force. But Ryan also had a message about the divisiveness of the Obama campaign and that also resonated with students.
Tyler said, "I think that we’ve entered into a different era of partisanship, and it’s sad to see things like this going on. I think it discourages a lot of people to think that this is how things are being run. And you know, Mr. Ryan was very respectful of the President. He was very respectful in his remarks. I think that’s the type of discourse this country deserves. I think the American people deserve to have honest intellectual debates about the issues on hand."
Caroline Bennett is entering her junior year at Miami, and she also thinks that students are looking for a different message these days. She’s republican but described herself as the average student. She watches the news but is not involved with any political clubs on campus. Here’s a little of what she had to say about why Congressman Ryan’s message struck a chord with the audience.
"I hope that people are becoming more educated and so they are understanding what they are voting for more than just doing what’s popular around campus. So, I think it does have to do with being at a more republican campus but I think it also is people changing their minds about, you know, who they think can lead our country in the right direction."
Whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can bring in younger voters to the level President Obama did in 2008 remains to be seen, but last night’s event at Miami University could have been the start they were looking for.
On Friday, Ryan will attend Victory rallies at two Virginia high schools.