HUDSON, WI. - Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan stopped in Hudson Tuesday afternoon, as part of a five-city swing through his home state spanning two days.
That appearance, and another one earlier in La Crosse, were originally dubbed "Victory Events" by the Romney-Ryan campaign. But they were transformed into Hurricane Sandydisaster relief gatherings, and Congressman Ryan kept his message nonpartisan.
"Let's put inan extra prayer today for the victims of the hurricane. Let's think about those who are still in the storm's damage, and let's not forget that help is still needed," Ryan told those gathered in the St. Croix County Republican campaign headquarters.
Throughout the day local residents had been bringing bottled water, diapers and canned goods to the office. Volunteers donned Romney-Ryan "Team Wisconsin" tee-shirts and boxed the goods.
Rep. Ryan reminded those whotook part in the collection effort inside the office, an a much largercrowd that spilled over into the parking lot, that they can log into the Red Cross website at home -- www.redcross.org -- to donate money directly to the relief effort.
His rhetorical approach in Hudson mirrored what the top man on the ticket, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, did earlier in Ohio. What had originally been billed as a Romney rally became a storm relief donation party.
President Obama stayed off the campaign trail for a second day Tuesday. His campaign staff said he would cancel a trip to Ohio Wednesday, so he could keephis full focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy at least one more day.
The president's only media appearance Tuesday came when he visited Red Cross national headquarters in Washington.
"This storm is not yet over," the president said, describing the impact of Sandy as "heartbreaking for the nation." He said his overridingmessage to federal authorities was, "No bureaucracy. No red tape."
Surrogates on the move
President Bill Clinton appeared at the University of Minnesota on behalf of the Obama campaign Tuesday, telling the crowd that the nation is already on track to create the same number of jobs Romney has promised to deliver.
"Moody's Analytics and Microeconomic Advisers say if we don't mess up what has already been done, America will produce 12 million jobs in the next four years," Clinton remarked, citing two economic studiesprojecting the current growth rate through the year 2017.
"The Romneyargument is, 'Throw this guy out so I can get credit for the 12 million jobs his policies made possible!"
Clinton said Romney will move the country in reverse, by investing more in traditional energy sources, such as oil and coal,while cutting back on tax credits for renewable such as wind and solar.
He also took Romney to task for his promise to repeal Health Care Reform, known now to many as ObamaCare.
"Governor Romney says nobody dies without health care. They just show up at the emergency room,"Clinton said. "It's not true. They go later when they're sicker. They cost more then,and they die sooner."
Ryan is expected to appear at events in Eau Claire and Green Bay Wednesday morning and in Racinein the afternoon. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit the Badger State Friday, with stops in Beloit and Superior.
Wisconsin is considered a toss-up currently, with polls showing Mitt Romney and President Obamavirtuallytied, depending on the margin of error. The state'sten electoral votes are vital to Romney's strategy if he can't pull off a victory in Ohio.