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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ryan Children Enjoying the Trail in the Campaign\'s Final Days

Sam Ryan in OhioJosh Haner/The New York TimesRepresentative Paul D. Ryan's son Sam, 7, took the stage after a rally in Marietta, Ohio, on Saturday.

MARIETTA, Ohio - In these final 72 hours of slogging through four states a day, candidates, reporters and staff members can all feel like the walking dead.

Safe to say, no one is having more fun on the campaign trail than the three young children of Paul and Janna Ryan. At each Tarmac touchdown, when the candidate and his wife dash into a waiting vehicle, Sam, 7, Charlie, 9, and Liza, 10, enthusiastically wave to camera crews huddled under the airplane wing for another perfunctory “arrival” photo that no one will probably ever use.

As Mr. Ryan worked the rope line here a fter the first rally of the day on Saturday, Sam jumped onto the stage where his father had stood and flashed two exuberant V-for-victory signs.

Sam, the Ryans' youngest child, is a second grader who sported a Cheese Head hat at a rally, and the day after the vice-presidential debate last month he strolled to the back of the campaign plane, where reporters sit, to give his own news conference. Hard-bitten journalists grilled him on his favorite color (blue) and his Halloween costume (“a secret”).

His father later posted a picture to Twitter with the caption, “Campaign spokesman in training.''

Most days the Ryan children are home in school, but they have been a presence in the campaign even when absent. In battleground Ohio, where Mr. Ryan has emphasized his cultural connections to blue-collar voters, he shopped for deer-hunting clothing for Liza accompanied by the national press. On Halloween, Mr. and Mrs. Ryan walk ed their neighborhood in Janesville, Wis with the three children, again followed by the press. Sam and Charlie were goblins, and Liza, in a blue pageboy wig and rainbow-colored outfit, was the singer Katy Perry. (Points to Mom and Dad for not censoring the costume because of Ms. Perry's prominent support for President Obama.)

But, Sam is the one who clearly most enjoys the game of Presidential Campaign. When he flashed his Nixonian victory waves, the crowd rippled with applause and his father turned back to see what the fuss was.

Young Sam will be eligible to run for president himself in 2040, the same year Mr. Ryan's controversial House budget projects federal revenues and spending would be in balance.

Follow Trip Gabriel on Twitter at @tripgabriel.