WAUKESHA, Wis. – It was an emotional homecoming for Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. Just 48 hours after he snuck out his back door to make his way to the announcement of his vice presidential candidacy in Norfolk, Va., he returned as a home-state hero.

Thousands cheered for Ryan and his family as they took the stage in the Waukesha County Expo Center. A visibly emotional Ryan wiped tears from his eyes as he joked that half the crowd -- estimated by the campaign at 10,000 -- was made up of his relatives. He is a fifth generation Wisconsinite and many Ryans have resided in nearby Janesville.

"My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, a little Spotted Cow, Leiney's, and some Miller. I was raised on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers. I like to hunt here, I like to fish here, I like to snowmobile here. I even think ice fishing is interesting," Ryan said, calling out his favorite state foods and sports teams. "I'm a Wisconsinite through and through, and I just got to tell you how much this means to be home."

Voters in the audience said they were proud of Ryan’s ascension to the national stage and it made them more excited about voting for Mitt Romney, who will become the GOP presidential nominee in Tampa late this month.

"It's great to have a local guy on the ticket," said Dale Sanders of Waukesha. Nancy Stutler of Hartland, Wis., predicted, "We have a very good chance of winning."

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