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Paul Ryan: bold, risky pick for Romney VP (+video)

Conservatives applaud Rep. Paul Ryan as the intellectual leader of the Republican Party. Liberals see Ryan as an ideologue who would destroy the nation’s social safety net.

By Staff writer / August 11, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan wave after Romney introduced Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate during a campaign event at the battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia, Saturday.

Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS



In choosing Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has gone bold – and risky.

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Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaks to the crowd in Norfolk, Virginia, Aug. 11, after being selected by Mitt Romney as his vice-presidential running mate.

Congressman Ryan of Wisconsin is more than just the young, articulate chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is the author of a controversial budget proposal that would reduce taxes, cut government spending, and limit the growth of entitlements. Most controversially, he would turn Medicare, the government’s health-insurance program for seniors, into a voucher-like system, and Medicaid, health care for the poor, into block grants to the states.

Conservatives applaud the seven-term congressman as the intellectual leader of the Republican Party, a thinker with a vision for America’s unsustainable fiscal future. Liberals see Ryan as an ideologue who would destroy the nation’s social safety net, ready to throw Grandma off a cliff.

IN PICTURES: On the Campaign Trail with Mitt Romney

For Romney, the choice injects ideas and energy into a race that had so far – for both campaigns – been mostly about tearing down the other side.

Ryan’s selection also seems aimed at generating conservative enthusiasm for a presumptive nominee who has struggled to convince many in his party’s base that he is a true conservative.

Romney has also been slipping in recent polls against President Obama, perhaps shifting his calculation away from a safer choice – such as Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio or former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota – and toward someone with a sharper policy profile.

In introducing Ryan at a campaign event Saturday morning in Norfolk, Virginia – fittingly, in front of the battleship USS Wisconsin – Romney called Ryan a man of character and integrity, who has “internalized the virtues and hard-working ethic of the Midwest.”

“Paul Ryan works in Washington, but his beliefs remain firmly rooted in Janesville, Wisconsin,” his hometown, Romney said.

Romney injected  a moment of levity into the proceedings when he accidentally introduced Ryan as “the next president of the United States." He returned to the stage moments later to reassure the assembled that Ryan would be the next “vice president.”


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