ROSEMONT – Even though he was speaking in President Barack Obama's home state, Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan told supporters in a Chicago suburb that their backing is critical in the camapign's final weeks.
During his fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Ryan accused the president of distorting Mitt Romney's record and trying to "muddle and confuse" voters. He also said the GOP ticket is more focused than ever on defining the "very clear choice" between the candidates.
"Since the president cannot run on his record, he has to tear down Mitt Romney. He has to ... try and win by default," Ryan said. "Know why I'm not going to let him get away with it? Because you are here today to give us the resources we need to make sure he doesn't get away with it."
The Romney campaign said about 260 people attended the fundraiser. Tickets ranged from $2,500 to $75,800 per person, according to the invitation.
Muneer Satter, the campaign's state finance chairman, said Illinois has set a new record for GOP presidential candidate fundraising this election cycle. The campaign did not release what that number is or how much money was raised Sunday. But Sutter urged supporters not to stop.
"We need more help for the swing states, and we need it now," Sutter said.
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Illinois, who like Ryan was elected to Congress in his late 20s, introduced the Wisconsin congressman. He told the crowd Ryan was one of the first people to welcome him when he arrived in Washington.
Schock also compared the accomplishments of Ryan, who has been in Washington for about 14 years, to Vice President Joe Biden, who has served for nearly four decades. The comparison is "a mountain to a molehill," Schock said.
Ryan and Biden are scheduled to debate Thursday in Kentucky.
Ryan has described himself as a "beer drinking, cheese curd eating, bow hunting, Green Bay Packers fan," Schock said. "In Chicago we're willing to give him three of those four vices."
Taking the stage, Ryan quickly assured the crowd that he also cheers for the Chicago Cubs.
Ryan compared many of Illinois' economic woes to those facing the nation, and said residents understand what's at stake on Nov. 6.
"We're not just picking a president for four years, we're literally picking a path, a trajectory, that will shape this country for at least a generation," Ryan said.
Outside the hotel, a group of protesters held signs that read "Cut big oil, not Big Bird," and one was dressed as the Sesame Street character. Their protest was a reference to Romney's statement in last week's debate, when he said that, if elected president, he would cut funding for PBS.