With both campaigns viewing Virginia as a must-win swing state in this presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan came to Northern Virginia on Friday. An overflow crowd greeted the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman at West Springfield High School.
"It's the home of the Spartans," Ryan was quick to announce to ABC 7 News as we sat down for a one-on-one interview before the rally. The man known for his mastery of budget detail was clearly eager to show he's paying attention to each local campaign stop, as he tries to win over still undecided voters.
For the Romney campaign, the strategy in Virginia is the strategy nationwide - keep the focus on the economy.
With defense cuts looming, Ryan on Friday called on Congress to postpone automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.
Ryan on postponing budget cuts
"Under any scenario I do not want to see the sequester take place," Ryan told ABC7 News. "These would be irresponsible and devastating."
Ryan pointed to the plan he introduced in Congress to come up with other alternatives to the scheduled automatic cuts in discretionary spending. Acknowledging there seems to be little chance for Congress to agree on an alternative before the January 1 deadline, Ryan backed postponing the cuts even without an alternative.Ryan on the tone of the presidential race
"The President has done nothing. The Senate hasn't done anything and so these are looming over us," he added.
But vocal critics of deficit spending in the Tea Party and elsewhere have argued simply postponing the cuts would kicking the can further down the curb.
Ryan has been a favorite of Tea Party activists, but Friday vowed that he and Governor Romney plan to push hard to prevent the cuts.
"We're going to do everything we can to prevent the sequester from taking place, because we think it's going to lead to a lot of job losses in lots of places - but especially in Northern Virginia."
In a wide-ranging interview scheduled to air both Saturday and Sunday on ABC7 News and on ABC7's 'WASHINGTON BUSINESS REPORT' on Sunday at 9:30am, Ryan talked candidly about life on the campaign trail, how he still fits in his P90X daily workout and how he and his family are adjusting to the presidential campaign spotlight.
Ryan on adjusting to the campaign trail
For now, Ryan says he and his wife plan to try and keep their three children in their regular routine.
"We're just going to give our kids a normal life. They're going to start school at Janesville, Wisconsin - the school they go to. They're going to be normal kids, with a normal school year," Ryan said.
But he acknowledged the Ryan children now get one perk - they get to skip the first week of school to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa the week of August 23rd and see their father nominated as Mitt Romney's running mate.