According to poll numbers, the presidential race in Virginia is virtually a dead heat. That is why Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was at Crutchfield headquarters in Albemarle County Thursday night, and why President Barack Obama was in Richmond Thursday afternoon.
The crowd at Ryan's rally was a bit smaller than expected, but still a very engaged and energetic audience. Ryan's main message Thursday night was that America can't afford four years of the same.
The energy was up and the American flags waved high as Ryan made another stop in battleground Virginia, just a little more than a week from Election Day.
Standing in front of a backdrop that read "we need a real recovery", Ryan said it's time for serious leadership and solutions to fix the country's problems - mainly the economy. He personalized the issue, drawing on Charlottesville's college town roots.
Ryan said, "50 percent of our college graduates today are either not working in the field in which they started or aren't working at all. Look at the future they are entering into."
Young people in attendance say they are worried, but believe the GOP ticket is the answer.
"I feel like they really reached out to college students and kids my age," said college student Bailey Mugford. "They really made it a point to tell us what was going to happen to us in the future."
The congressman didn't pull any punches when it came to the leadership of President Obama, saying his four years have been filled with broken promises.
"The president is simply offering more of the same," Ryan said. "He has given us four budgets with trillion dollar deficits each and every time. He has never once in the face of this budget debt crisis put out a plan to balance the budget."
That message of broken promises appeared to not only resonate with GOP faithfuls, but a key group of voters - independents.
"I voted for Obama in 2008 and I've been extremely disappointed. If I did the type of job that Obama did, I'd be fired," said independent voter Leisa Gonnella.
Ryan wrapped up his speech saying the campaign isn't just fighting for November 6, but more so the days after. He asked, "Do we want to wake up and think we're going to have to wait four more years. Or do we just want to wait two more weeks?"
At the final count, the campaign says 1,500 people attended the rally. The Romney team says it is keeping a close eye on early voting numbers.
Romney Campaign Steps Up Game with Ryan Rally in AlbemarleMore>>
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story