Ryan returns to stump in shadow of monster storm

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Back on the stump with less than a week to go before millions of Americans head to the polls, Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan pronounced what he feels are the dire consequences of this election, comparing it to the greatest intellectual transformation many say the world has ever known.

"2013 could be a renaissance in America - in the world and in America," Ryan declared during a campaign rally in the battleground state of Wisconsin. "2013 could be the year in which we get our economy growing, we start creating 12 million new jobs, we put these pro-growth policies in place and we reaffirm the American idea by electing Mitt Romney the next president of the United States."

The race for the White House is now down to a final sprint and the event here marks an official return to campaigning -- aside from surrogates -- after both Teams Obama and Romney cancelled rallies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The monster storm, which killed at least 59 people and left 6.5 million more without power, has overshadowed the presidential election in its closing week, with concern for victims dominating America's hearts and minds.

In his home state, Ryan pleaded with fellow Wisconsonites to help.

"We're here near the banks of the Mississippi, not too far from there, we've had our share of natural disasters, but we don't have hurricanes. We've turned on the TV and we've seen the devastation," he said. "I'd encourage you to go on the Red Cross website - www.redcross.org - make a donation if you can. There are a lot of people who are hurting in the northeast that could use our help. Cause you know what? In this country? In America? We help each other. That's what citizens do. That's what we've gotta do."

Both campaigns are now treading lightly in the last lap of the race. President Obama is in New Jersey surveying storm damage but Vice President Biden is also back on the trail in Florida.

So with 6-days left in this campaign, closing arguments are trickling back in, and for his part, Ryan is making it clear the Republicans are counting on his home state to help put them over the top.

"Come on fellow cheeseheads let's put the pedal to the medal, let's see it all the way through," Ryan said to a fired up crowd in Green Bay during his second of three campaign stops in Wisconsin Wednesday.

"We look forward to the Badgers winning on Saturdays or the Packers winning on Sundays. We look forward to deer season, we look forward to all these great traditions we have here in Wisconsin but I really look forward to waking up on Wednesday morning knowing that we got our country back on the right track, knowing that Wisconsin delivered its 10 electoral votes to putting America back on a sure footing by electing Mitt Romney the next President of the United States."