Paul Ryan is usually a number-crunching kind of guy -- a wonky politician who's likely more comfortable around charts than large crowds. But on Wednesday night, the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee showed a different side -- his emotional side.
He appeared to tear up at one point while mentioning his father's words of advice before he died. Then he singled out his mother in the crowd, describing her to the thousands of delegates and media inside the convention as his role model. And once again, the tears began filling up his eyes.
"Mom was 50 when my dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business," he said. "It wasn't just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my mom is my role model."
Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin and House Budget Committee chairman, heaped praise on his running mate, Mitt Romney, and drew laughs across the arena with this anecdote from life on the campaign trail:
"We’re a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And, in some ways, we’re a little different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin."
As for President Obama? Ryan certainly did not hold back his contempt for the way the president has run his campaign.
"Fear and division is all they have left," he said of Obama. "Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different than the last four years?"
"He brought it ... he really did blow the roof off this place," said CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "This was the tee-up for Mitt Romney tomorrow."
Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for President George W. Bush, said his speech was the "jolt of economic optimism" the country needed to hear.