Iowa State Fair: Ryan faces hecklers and Obama (+video)
Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan met challenges at the Iowa State Fair, Monday. Ryan is credited with giving the Romney campaign a jolt of energy from his conservative backers, but others say 'he's fairly unknown.'
DES MOINES, Iowa
Republican Paul Ryan got a taste of the rough side of a presidential campaign on Monday when protesters heckled him and President Barack Obama accused him of blocking emergency aid to drought-hit farmers.Skip to next paragraph
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The new vice presidential hopeful from Wisconsin - who brings Midwestern credibility to White House hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign - mingled with locals at the Iowa State Fair, a popular spot for politicians keen to show their common touch in a state where Obama and Romney will be in tight competition.
Dressed in a checked shirt, Ryan bantered with fairgoers but his first solo campaign speech was interrupted by a small group of demonstrators.
In chaotic scenes, hecklers standing at the front of a large pro-Ryan crowd shouted "Stop the war against the common good," prompting Republicans to shout back and swear at them.
One of the protesters rushed onto the small stage where Ryan was speaking. She was grabbed by three state troopers. Police said one of the protesters punched a volunteer fair worker.
"It's funny because Iowans and Wisconsinites, we like to be respectful of one another, and peaceful of one another and listen to one another," Ryan said. "These ladies must not be from Iowa or Wisconsin."
A hero to conservatives, Ryan has given Romney's campaign a jolt of energy after several difficult weeks marked by gaffes and persistent questions about his personal finances.
But the Republican effort to win back the White House received no immediate poll boost from Saturday's announcement of Ryan as the vice presidential running mate, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online survey.
Some 51 percent of those surveyed said the decision did not change their opinion of Romney, a former private-equity executive and Massachusetts governor who faces Obama in the Nov. 6 election.
Another 26 percent said they viewed Romney more favorably after he added the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman to the ticket, while 23 percent said they regarded him less favorably.
Ryan is a polarizing figure in Washington, where he has led his party's push to cut domestic spending, lower taxes and scale back the size of the federal government as chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.
But Americans outside Washington and Ryan's home state know little about him.
"He's fairly unknown in who he is and what he stands for," said Ipsos Vice President Julia Clark. "He's a Wisconsin congressman, not a nationally known figure."