Ill. Democrats rally outside Paul Ryan fundraiser in Rosemont - FOX 32 News Chicago

Illinois Democrats rally outside Paul Ryan fundraiser in Rosemont

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a rare visit to President Obama's home state Sunday, attending a fundraiser in Rosemont.

But it wasn't just his republican backers who turned out to greet him.

Ryan and his wife Jenna arrived at O'Hare around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, then headed to a republican fundraiser at a Rosemont Hotel.

A small group of Democrats were waiting outside when he arrived.

"What we're here today to talk about is that the Ryan budget and the Romney economic plan means disaster for the middle class," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said.

One protestor wore a Big Bird outfit, a bow toward Mitt Romney's promise in last week's debate to eliminate federal funding for public TV.

Inside, Ryan's remarks were off-limits to cameras. He told some 250 supporters that President Obama has been trying to distract the country from the real issues.

"He has to distract this country," Ryan said. "He has to distort Mitt Romney's record and try to win by default."

On Thursday, Ryan will take on Vice President Joe Biden in their only debate before the Nov. 6 election.

"Paul Ryan is someone who I think will captivate the American Audience on Thursday night," Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) said. "With specifics, with substance, and with a positive vision of where he can take this country if we're going to make a change, come November 6."

State Republican Chairman Pat Brady said the VP debate isn't as critical as last week's presidential match up.

"If Congressman Ryan just holds his own…" Brady said. "Vice President Biden [is a] very experienced debater, He ran for president in 1988. I think Paul Ryan was a senior in high school then."

Supporters coughed up a minimum of $2,500 to see Ryan in Rosemont on Sunday. The goal was to raise $2 million.

Romney's Illinois chairman, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, said Romney's solid debate performance helped jump-start fundraising.

"I talked to one of my major fundraising guys, and during the debate he was texting some folks," Rutherford said. "He said he will raise an additional half million dollars."

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