Ryan greets supporters in Hudsonby Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio
HUDSON, Wis. — About three dozen volunteers wearing red Romney/Ryan campaign shirts stood around two long, plastic tables piled with canned foods in the campaign's Hudson, Wis., office on Tuesday.
The volunteers were waiting for Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan to arrive. Some said they had helped with phone-banking and collecting donations prior to the event. In the days following Hurricane Sandy, the Romney/Ryan campaign replaced their planned campaign events with storm relief efforts.
But at the Hudson event, the volunteers did not pack any donated food into boxes from the time reporters arrived at 4:15 p.m. until 5:08 p.m., when campaign workers told volunteers to start packing. After 12 minutes, as the storm relief supplies dwindled on the tables, volunteers stopped packing and resumed waiting for Ryan, who came in the back of the building about fifteen minutes later.
"Thanks for doing all this stuff," he said as cameras flashed and tape recorders rolled.
"I just want to thank you all for coming together and helping to put this effort together," Ryan told volunteers. "This kind of effort is happening in victory centers across the country. Governor Romney has spoken with some of the governors in the northeast who've been hit by the hurricane. We're packing up supplies and sending them to the relief centers in the northeast."
Ryan also urged volunteers to donate money and blood to bolster hurricane relief efforts.
Romney campaign events on Tuesday took a similar approach to the Ryan events in Wisconsin, which led Washington Post political blogger Emily Heil to note that "charity and politics can be a tricky mix."
The campaigns know this, but Election Day is also fast approaching.
Outside the campaign building, about 200 supporters gathered in the chilly wind. They were there to see the man they hoped would be the country's next vice president.
Chris Jordan of Hudson came out on his day off to see Ryan. He said he doesn't know how politics around the hurricane would factor into Tuesday's election.
"With the storms and everything, I think it's just another facet of life, we can't control the weather," Jordan said. "With a newsworthy event, something's going to pop up, and you either have to deal with it or be aware of it."