NEWPORT NEWS (AP) -- Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan tried to make the case for change during a rally Tuesday evening in Newport News.

Ryan spoke to a packed house at Christopher Newport University's Ferguson Center for the Arts.

He said Mitt Romney has 'a proven record of leadership.'

As for defense, an important issue in Hampton Road and Virginia, Ryan said, 'Romney and I believe very strongly in the 'peace through strength' doctrine. That meansyou have to have a very strong military and we think that these devastating defense cuts the president's budget and this sequester compromises our national security. That's why we oppose it and we won't let it go through.'

'We support our military, and we need Romney to help the military, 'cause that's what made this country so great,' said Betty Purgold, who lives in York County.

'It's core values that we need to address, bring back to this country, and that's what I see in him more than anything else,' Ben Talbott of Newport News told 13News. 'Primarily get jobs back to this country, get our spending down. Our deficit's gonna kill this country, and he sees that. Romney sees that.'

Ryan has made several stops in Virginia since he was announced as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate in the state last month.

Romney is deadlocked with President Barack Obama in Virginia. While Obama is stronger in the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C., Romney is favored in the south and rural areas.

'Virginia will go for Romney. I've got confidence in the State of Virginia,' Purgold said. 'We're a great state. We pull together when we need to pull together, and Romney will be our next president.'

AP-WF-09-18-12 0648GMT

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