CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mitt Romney will spend his first full day of campaigning with his new vice-presidential running mate in North Carolina.
Romney and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan touched down at Charlotte Douglas International Airport late Saturday night to begin their bus tour across the state.
Romney announced his choice of Ryan at an event in Virginia Saturday morning.
"This is a man who appeals to the better angels of the American people,” said Romney, “…asks us to lift ourselves."
Ryan, a young conservative best known for building lean budgets, took the podium and quickly pushed back on President Obama’s message that Romney would hurt the middle class.
“We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes,” he told the cheering crowd. “And this idea was founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.”
Catawba College Political Science professor Michael Bitzer said the choice of Paul Ryan will invigorate a race that has been steady – maybe too steady – so far.
“It kind of shakes things up. It paints a whole new picture of Romney,” said Bitzer. "This changes the dynamic of the Romney strategy from a referendum election for Obama to much more of a choice election between Romney and Obama."
Bitzer said it’s no coincidence Romney and Ryan are starting their campaign together in North Carolina. He said it is a must-win state for Romney.
“Romney needs it much more and Romney is betting on the tea party appeal of Paul Ryan to really energize that base.”
Bitzer said both Romney and President Obama are polling about the same – 46% each – but he believes the independent vote won’t be as important as candidates being able to get their voting bases to the polls.
Romney and Ryan begin their swing through North Carolina with an appearance at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville at 10 a.m., followed by a visit to a furniture factory in High Point.
Matt Romney will take over campaigning for his father in Morrisville, along with former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, who is running for governor.