Mitt Romney Names Paul Ryan As Presidential Running Mate
Mitt Romney unveiled Saturday morning Representative Paul Ryan as his choice for running mate, a bold move that comes at the end of an intense selection process and is likely to shake up a presidential race out of the summer doldrums.
Romney sent out the announcement, which began to leak early this morning, through a smart-phone application, alerting supporters simply: “Mitt’s Choice for VP is Paul Ryan.”
The pair made their first appearance in front of the USS Wisconsin, a Second World War battleship anchored off the city of Norfolk, to the south of the crucial swing state.
Romney’s campaign had earlier sent out a press release branding Romney and Ryan as “America’s Comeback Team” and providing a brief biography of Ryan, who has been a prominent seven-term congressman but is also relatively untested on the national stage.
The Romney campaign noted Ryan’s role spearheading a proposed reform of the tax code, but focused on his personal background. It noted that he proposed to his wife, Janna Little, at one of his favorite fishing spots in Wisconsin; that they live in Janesville, Wisc., with their three children and attend a Catholic Church; and that Ryan is both “an avid outdoorsman” and a member of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen.
It also highlights his youth. Ryan – who at 42 is the same age as Romney’s oldest son, Tagg – was elected to Congress at 28 and offers a contrast in age to Romney, who is 65.
Mr Ryan’s selection will generate enthusiasm on the Right but a risks scaring away much-needed moderate and independent voters wary of his drastic plans to shrink the US government. His unveiling also comes earlier than anticipated, raising suggestions that Mr Romney recognised a need to deliver a boost to his campaign.
Romney’s advisers have been trying to cast his campaign as more substantive on policy, while suggesting that President Obama is more concerned with levying personal attacks.
But just as Ryan will excite Republicans, he is also likely to provide ample ammunition for Democrats, who have pilloried his policies and said they would lead to diminished services for the elderly, who make up a crucial voting bloc.
Romney and Ryan have developed a kinship over the course of the campaign. Earlier this year, they campaign together and shared burgers at a fast food restaurant in Wisconsin. Ryan also had a role in playing an April Fool’s joke on Romney – in which Romney showed up to an empty ballroom thinking it was a full crowd — illustrating the type of humor Romney shares.
Ryan, who is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, endorsed Romney before Wisconsin’s Republican primary in late March. He comes from a state that leans Democrat but could come into play in November, with its 10 electoral votes. The state has been ground zero for a showdown between unions of public workers and governors who seek to curtail their collective bargaining rights.
Ryan was once considered a long shot for the vice presidential nomination, largely because of his youth and his espousing of policies that are controversial in some circles.
But in recent days, focus on Ryan intensified, with conservatives hoping he would pick someone that could stoke their base, shake up the race, and put Romney back on his footing after a rough month where he fell in the polls.
The Wall Street Journal on Thursday strongly urged Romney to pick the seven-term congressman.
“The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election,” the paper wrote. “More than any other politician, the House budget chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.”