Paul Ryan came, saw, and picked up some loot in Memphis on Thursday for the Romney-Ryan ticket. His local time began with a brief but well-attended soiree (at $1,000 per person) at The Racquet Club and continued with a premium-priced dinner ($25,000 a head) at the home of FedEx founder Fred Smith. The dinner was reportedly co-hosted by Governor Bill Haslam.
Among the attendees at the earlier event were two local congressmen (Stephen Fincher of the 8th District, which has been reapportioned to include portions of East Memphis, including the Racquet Club site; and Marsha Blackburn of the 7th District) and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, all of whom spoke just before Ryan himself.
Numerous local officials and rank and file Republicans (who had the opportunity to pose for pictures with the GOP veep candidate for a mere $10,000) were also in the audience.
"It's an honor to be here,” Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president as Mitt Romney’s running mate, told those present. “You have great leaders here, you have a great state and this is a great country. We know what we need to do. We know how to pull it together and with your help here today it helps us to make it so. We're going to give the country this choice. This country knows we don't want four more years of the same. THey want to get back to growth and opportunity and we're going to do that."
In the manner of most candidates who happen to be running on a presidential ticket, Ryan saw this year’s as “the most important election” in a generation. He told those present at the event, “We are picking a path that will set in motion either a reclamation of the American dream” or one that could result in a “welfare state with a debt crisis” like several countries in present-day Europe.
Ryan warned, in fact, that America will inevitably be heading in the same direction as Europe if it doesn’t get control of government spending. He said one of his goals was to see the revival of manufacturing in this country.
Another goal he embraced was that of “attacking the root cause of poverty.” By all accounts, the Romney-Ryan campaign fund was far from being impoverished at the start of events Thursday, and, after raising a reported $1 million in Knoxville from fundraising events earlier in the day to go with the expected good receipts in Memphis, it clearly was in no danger of insolvency.
Most attendees at the Racquet Club event said they were both impressed and inspired by
Ryan. Their estimates of how well the ticket as a whole was doing and of its chances for prevailing this year varied from person to person, however.
(This article contains information from a pool report by Samantha Bryson of The Commercial Appeal.)