Despite the controversy swirling around their campaign Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan urged his House GOP colleagues to stay optimistic because voters are being offered two distinct choices in November.
'This is going to be an up and down race,' Ryan said at the last scheduled weekly meeting of House Republicans before the election, according to the Washington Post.
'Three polls came out that have us within one point. They are going to try to distract us,' Ryan said. Later he added: 'The Democrats will try to make this about little things. We have taken all the tough votes and led.'
It was unclear which polls Ryan was referring to, but polls of likely voters released Wednesday show the Romney-Ryan ticket trailing President Obama by one point. The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll of registered voters also gives Obama a one-point edge.
Ryan reportedly met with his colleagues at the Capitol Hill Club, an upscale facility on Capitol Hill where Republicans meet once a month to discuss political issues.
The meeting with Ryan lasted less than a half hour and lawmakers were reportedly heard cheering at the beginning and end of his remarks.
After the meeting, several of Ryan’s colleagues shared his observations.
Congressman Raul Labrador described the meeting as a pep talk and added that Ryan said 'he’s excited when members of Congress go out and campaign with him, because he’s been going to all the battleground states, and he likes when they’re there.'
'They have a plan laid out, and they’re following the plan and they’re going to do what they need to do and not get distracted or discouraged by what happens every day,' Labrador added.
But despite Republican House leaders who met with reporters after the meeting framed the election as a referendum on Obama’s leadership, rather than the clear choice between leadership styles Ryan preferred.
In opening remarks by six different House Republicans, including the House Speaker John Boehner, not one mentioned Romney. Instead, they stressed again and again that Obama has failed to lead, cut the debt or improve the economy.
Asked twice if he agrees with Romney that 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes cannot be persuaded to vote for him, Boehner changed the subject and insisted the election would be about job creation.
'The focus is on jobs. The president’s economic policies have failed, and the American people know it,” he said. “You’re going to have both campaigns on both sides say things that get off the message. The message is: Let’s stay focused on jobs, because that’s what the American people want us to stay focused on.'