ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan flew into Richmond to try to fuel what polls suggest is a Republican rally, while a hoarse and tired former President Bill Clinton became a rousing proxy for President Barack Obama in two swing-state Virginia events.
The busiest Saturday of presidential campaigning ever in Virginia headed to a rock 'n' roll crescendo with a Democratic rally in northern Virginia where Clinton, U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine and Virginia rocker Dave Matthews were to join Obama.
In Richmond, hundreds who gathered at a private jet service hangar at Richmond International Airport chanted "three more days" as Ryan accused Obama of "appealing to our lowest fears."
Ryan's most recent visit to battleground Virginia consisted of a brief rally Saturday at an airport hangar, his chartered jet just outside the open door. Hundreds chanted "three more days" — the time left until Election Day.
Ryan said that Republican Mitt Romney's experience in business and government makes him best suited to handle the country's economic problems.
The Republican ticket has concentrated heavily on Virginia to help flip a state that Democrats won four years ago. Romney was due back in the area on Sunday and again on Monday.
Ryan accused Obama of waging a campaign based on small things and not the big problems facing the country. "Now, he's appealing to our lowest fears," Ryan said.
He said Obama hasn't delivered on his pledge to change the culture in Washington.
"In 2008, President Obama made lots of grandiose promises. Remember hope and change? Remember how he'd bring people together?" Ryan asked.
Ryan appeared with Virginia's Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, U.S. Senate candidate George Allen and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
In Roanoke, Clinton addressed a standing-room-only crowd of 2,500 people who packed a high school gym for a dinner-hour rally Saturday, calling Obama "a good and faithful commander-in-chief" who has done far more for the economy than Republicans will acknowledge.
Clinton, who presided over a robust economy and produced four budget surpluses, said no president — himself included — could have repaired the damage Obama's Republican predecessor did to the economy.
"We put Republicans in because they told us, essentially, you could eat candy for the rest of our lives and never go to the dentist," Clinton told the Roanoke crowd.
Six hours earlier, before several hundred people at a rally in Chesapeake, the hoarse and weary Clinton praised Obama's handling of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated New Jersey and New York, including Clinton's home in Chappaqua, N.Y. He also said Obama had been an ally to the military that dominates an area that is home to the world's largest U.S. Navy base in nearby Norfolk.