Romney: Ryan's skills as a campaigner unexpected

By JULIE PACE | August 22, 2012 | 7:40 PM EDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at LeClaire Manufacturing on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Bettendorf, Iowa (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney says he didn't realize how effective Paul Ryan would be as a campaigner when he picked him as his running mate.

Speaking to donors Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark., Romney praised Ryan for drawing large crowds on the campaign trail, raising money and making sure people know the election is about big things. Romney says he can't wait to see Ryan debate Democrat Joe Biden in October's vice presidential debate.

Romney and Ryan have been campaigning separately much of the week, but they plan a joint rally Friday in Michigan.

Romney is speaking at a 250-person fundraiser with tickets ranging from $2,500 to $50,000. The presumptive GOP nominee is making a fundraising push in Republican-leaning states ahead of next week's GOP convention.