He may have been greeted by protesters at two of his three fundraising events Sunday, but those who got a chance to meet U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan were impressed with his grasp of the issues and his friendly Midwestern demeanor.
At the 50,900 square-foot West Hartford manse of entrepreneur Arnold Chase, Ryan addressed the crowd from a stairwell. Video of his speech was posted on the Rocky Hill GOP’s Facebook page. Tickets ranged from $1,000 to $10,000 per person.
John Henry Decker, who is running against U.S. Rep. John Larson in the 1st Congressional District, attended the event with his wife. The couple spent the morning with Ryan’s wife Janna and his sister-in-law Dana.
“Paul was incredibly gracious, wholesome and you just truly get a sense of a great and sincere, yet humble, person,” Decker, who is just three years older than Ryan, said.
But not all politicians were clamoring to see Ryan. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and Andrew Roraback who is running in the 5th Congressional District were not in attendance due to scheduling conflicts.
Ryan’s campaign limited media coverage to two pool reporters, who were allowed to attend only the event at the Darien Country Club. No media were allowed into the Chase residence where Ryan chided the media for not telling “their” story, or the home of state Sen. Scott Frantz of Greenwich where the Ryan held his final fundraiser of the day.
Most of his remarks to the crowds in Darien and West Hartford centered around the remark made famous by former President Ronald Reagan who asked during a 1980 debate “are you better off than you were four years ago?”
“If we go the next four years with the same kinds of policies we had for the last four years, it will change our country not just for four years, but in a way that we won’t recognize it for a generation to come,” Ryan told supporters at the Chase home. “So this is sort of a generation trajectory choosing election.”
In Darien, he told the crowd of supporters that “The president’s economic agenda has failed, not because it was stopped. His economic agenda failed because it was passed.”
The comments received applause.
Ryan’s visit to Connecticut with seven electoral votes didn’t include any public appearances. Instead, he like many candidates before him came to Connecticut to raise money for the campaign, which has struggled over the past few weeks.
Jamie McLaughlin, told the Hartford Courant that the host committee expected to raise $800,000 from the Darien event. The Ryan campaign was mum about how much it expected to raise from the visit.