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‘It’s sad’: Ryan’s supporters in Janesville go from giddy to down

A Republican party phone bank In Janesville work get out vote Tuesday afternoon. | Stefano Esposito~Sun-Times

A Republican party phone bank In Janesville work to get out the vote Tuesday afternoon. | Stefano Esposito~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:16AM

JANESVILLE, Wis. — A giddy sense of possibility filled the banquet hall at the Holiday Inn Express here Tuesday, only to slowly subside as it became clear the town’s favorite son, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, would not be headed to the White House as Mitt Romney’s vice president.

“I’m not feeling so hot — I think I’m going to have to take another blood pressure pill,” said Ralph Foss, 68, a retired hair stylist from Janesville, who said he had cut Ryan’s hair when the congressman was a boy. “It’s unbelievable.”

Tuesday evening, 500 or so excited Ryan supporters had gathered at the Holiday Inn, hoping to see their man elected vice president.

But it wasn’t to be, leaving Ryan’s cheering section down.

“He’s one of the best and brightest on the Hill and he’s squeaky clean,” said Janesville resident and Ryan supporter, Susan Schmoekel, 65. “It’s sad the country doesn’t realize what a gem they’re losing in

not electing Paul Ryan to the White House.”

But others in Janesville — a town of about 60,000 with deep union roots — were clearly cheering for an Obama victory

“I only voted Republican once in my entire life,” said resident Richard Kelly, 81, a retired General Motors autoworker, referring to Dwight D. Eisenhower. “They’re not for the working man — they’re for the rich and famous.”

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