MOORESVILLE -- Mitt Romney introduced running mate Paul Ryan to a crowd of Republican faithful outside Charlotte on Sunday morning, saying he has the "ideas to get American back on track."
Standing in front of a race car with his name, Romney offered a broad vision of his potential presidency, throwing plenty of partisan lines to a capacity 1,700 crowd but offering few specifics about how he would accomplish his promise of 12 million jobs.
"I selected this man to be running mate because I want to change Washington," Romney said. "I don't want to be like Europe, I want to be like America."
The presence of Ryan, a seven-term Wisconsin congressman picked a day earlier as the vice presidential nominee, added an extra layer of hype to Romney's first significant campaign tour in North Carolina, a key battleground state in the 2012 election. "I feel like I'm in Woodstock," said Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory as he warmed up the crowd."There is a party in town."
About 1,000 onlookers ballooned outside the doors to the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville. Romney went outside to greet them after his speech. "If we win North Carolina, we are going to win the White House," Romney said to cheers.
Ryan said "the contrast could not be more clear" this election year. His addition to the ticket is seen as a way to shift the conversation to federal spending the and the role of government, two topics that have earned Ryan a loyal following in Republican circles.
"Yesterday was the kickoff of a new campaign," said U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of Winston-Salem. Burr recounted how Ryan sleeps in his office in Washington. "Paul Ryan is frugal. He's tight. And he's going to be even tighter with your money."
At the same time, Ryan's budget plan provides Democrats with an easy target because it overhauls the federal budget and Medicare by cutting spending and remaking the health plan for retirees into a private system.
Nancy Ward, a 76-year-old retiree on Medicare who attended the rally, applauded Ryan's pick. "He's got good experience. He says what he's going to do," Ward said. "He's the onlyl one who's had the guts to produce a budget."
As for the Medicare change, Ward isn't worried, partly becasue it wouldn't affect her. "I think something needs to be done," she said. "People are going to have to learn to save."