DECISION 2012: Romney chooses Paul Ryan as V.P. running mate

By: WEAU staff Email
By: WEAU staff Email

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday, turning to the architect of a deeply conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending.

In the campaign to come, Republicans will present economic solutions "that are bold, specific and achievable," Romney said as he presented his political partner to cheering supporters. "We offer our commitment to create 12 million new jobs and bring better take home pay to middle class families."

The two men basked in the cheers of supporters in the ticket's made-for-television debut. "I did not make a mistake with this guy," Romney exulted.

"I am deeply excited and honored to join you as your running mate," Ryan said in his first words at the podium." He said that together, "we will restore the greatness of this country."

"Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution" to an economy that has yet to make a strong recovery from the worst recession in decades, he said.

The ticket made its debut at a naval museum in Norfolk, Va., the initial stop of a bus tour through four battleground states in as many days. The USS Wisconsin, berthed at the museum, was their bunting-draped backdrop.

While word of Ryan's selection leaked late Friday night, and was posted by the campaign to its phone app before the speeches, Obama's campaign withheld its reaction until the Republicans had spoken.

"The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid," Jim Messina, the president's campaign manager, said in a written statement.

"His plan would also end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors," he said.

Ryan's selection - as well as Romney's own nomination - will be ratified by delegates to the Republican National Convention that begins on Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla.

Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden will be nominated for a second term at the Democratic convention the following week.

One campaign official said Romney had settled on Ryan as his pick on Aug. 1, more than a week ago, and informed Beth Myers, the longtime aide who had shepherded the secretive process that led to the selection. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details.

It was not known when Romney informed Ryan he wanted him on the ticket.

In making his pick, Romney bypassed other potential running mates, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Officials said he had called all four to notify them of his decision.

At 42, Ryan is a generation younger than the 65-year-old Romney.

His conservative credentials are highly regarded by fellow Republican House members, while numerous polls found that Romney's own were suspect among the party's core supporters during the primaries of winter and spring.

A seven-term congressman, Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, and primary author of conservative tax and spending blueprints that the tea party-infused Republican majority approved over vociferous Democratic opposition in 2011 and again in 2012.

It envisions transforming Medicare into a program in which future seniors would receive government checks that they could use to purchase health insurance. Under the current program, the government directly pays doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.

Ryan and other supporters say the change is needed to prevent the program from financial calamity. Critics argue it would impose ever-increasing costs on seniors.

Other elements of the budget plan would cut projected spending for Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, as well as food stamps, student loans and other social programs that Obama and Democrats have pledged to defend.

In all, it projected spending cuts of $5.3 trillion over a decade, and cut future projected deficits substantially.

It also envisions a far reaching overhaul of the tax code of the sort Romney has promised.

Romney and Ryan appeared unusually comfortable with each other when they campaigned together earlier in the year. The former governor eagerly shared the microphone with the younger man and they shared hamburgers at a fast food restaurant.

In making an endorsement before his state's primary last spring, Ryan said, "I picked who I think is going to be the next president of the United States - I picked Mitt Romney. ... The moment is here. The country can be saved. It is not too late to get America back on the right track. ... It is not too late to save the American idea."

Romney was the subject of an April Fools prank in which Ryan played a role. Romney showed up at a supposed campaign event where he heard Ryan calling him "the next president of the United States" - only to find the room nearly empty.

In recent days, conservative pundits have been urging Romney to choose Ryan in large part because of his authorship of a House-backed budget plan that seeks to curb overall spending on benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps.

Republican National Committee finance chairman Ron Weiser of Michigan, said Friday night that Ryan's selection would help Romney win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes in the fall. The state typically supports Democrats in presidential contests, and Obama won it handily four years ago.

Ryan has worked in Washington for much of his adult life, a contrast to Romney, who frequently emphasizes his experience in business.

The congressman worked as an aide in Congress, and also was a speechwriter for Jack Kemp, who years earlier had been one of the driving forces behind across-the-board tax cuts that were at the heart of Ronald Reagan's winning presidential campaign in 1980.

Ryan is also well-known for his fiendish physical fitness workouts.

His congressional district in southeast Wisconsin has something of a bipartisan voting record. Obama took 54 percent of the vote there in 2008, while the congressman received 64 percent in winning re-election.

Outside Ryan's home in Janesville, Wis., on Friday night, there was nothing to suggest that the residence belonged to a vice presidential candidate. An Associated Press reporter who knocked just before midnight got no answer. There was a light on in a first-floor room of the two-story brick home atop a hill.

Earlier this week, a Ryan adviser said the congressman, his wife and their three children were preparing for a weeklong Colorado vacation.

Most of Romney's staff learned of the planned announcement during a 10 p.m. EDT conference call Friday about an hour before the campaign issued a statement. The identity of Romney's pick was not disclosed during the call. The campaign had promised that first news of the selection would be delivered via a phone app.

Earlier in the day, Romney's campaign briefed reporters on the bus tour without mention of the impending vice presidential announcement.

The tour will take Romney through North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Ohio. All are battlegrounds where Obama won in 2008. They hold 75 electoral votes combined, of the 270 needed to win the election.
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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday, turning to the architect of a conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending.

Romney made his announcement to supporters via a phone app. "Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan," it said and implored backers to spread the word.

The ticket-mates arranged their first joint appearance later in the morning at a naval museum, the initial stop of a bus tour through four battleground states in as many days. The USS Wisconsin, berthed at the museum, was their bunting-draped backdrop.

"This is the worst economic recovery in 70 years," Ryan said in remarks prepared for delivery. "Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure" on the part of President Barack Obama, he added.

In the prepared remarks, Ryan, 42, envisioned a Romney administration in which "We won't duck the tough issues...we will lead."

In a written statement, Romney's campaign said that Ryan has worked in Congress to "eliminate the federal deficit, reform the tax code and preserve entitlements for future generations."

Ryan's selection - as well as Romney's own nomination - will be ratified by delegates to the Republican National Convention that begins on Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden will be nominated for a second term at the Democratic convention the following week.

The Democrats' re-election campaign withheld any reaction to Ryan's selection until after the formal announcement.

One campaign official said Romney had settled on Ryan as his pick on Aug. 1, more than a week ago, and informed Beth Myers, the longtime aide who had shepherded the secretive process that led to the selection. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details.

It was not known when Romney informed Ryan he wanted him on the ticket.

At 42, Ryan is a generation younger than the 65-year-old Romney.

His conservative credentials are highly regarded by fellow Republican House members, while numerous polls found that Romney's own were suspect among the party's core supporters during the primaries of winter and spring.

A seven-term congressman, Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, and primary author of conservative tax and spending blueprints that the tea party-infused Republican majority approved over vociferous Democratic opposition in 2011 and again in 2012.

It envisions transforming Medicare into a program in which future seniors would receive government checks that they could use to purchase health insurance. Under the current program, the government directly pays doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.

Ryan and other supporters say the change is needed to prevent the program from financial calamity. Critics argue it would impose ever-increasing costs on seniors.

Other elements of the budget plan would cut projected spending for Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, as well as food stamps, student loans and other social programs that Obama and Democrats have pledged to defend.

In all, it projected spending cuts of $5.3 trillion over a decade, and cut future projected deficits substantially.

It also envisions a far reaching overhaul of the tax code of the sort Romney has promised.

In turning to Ryan, Romney bypassed other potential running mates without the Wisconsin lawmaker's following among rank-and-file conservatives, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Republican officials said Romney had spoken with all three.

Romney and Ryan appeared unusually comfortable with each other when they campaigned together earlier in the year. The former governor eagerly shared the microphone with the younger man and they shared hamburgers at a fast food restaurant.

In making an endorsement before his state's primary last spring, Ryan said, "I picked who I think is going to be the next president of the United States - I picked Mitt Romney. ... The moment is here. The country can be saved. It is not too late to get America back on the right track. ... It is not too late to save the American idea."

Romney was the subject of an April Fools prank in which Ryan played a role. Romney showed up at a supposed campaign event where he heard Ryan calling him "the next president of the United States" - only to find the room nearly empty.

In recent days, conservative pundits have been urging Romney to choose Ryan in large part because of his authorship of a House-backed budget plan that seeks to curb overall spending on benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps.

Republican National Committee finance chairman Ron Weiser of Michigan, said Friday night that Ryan's selection would help Romney win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes in the fall. The state typically supports Democrats in presidential contests, and Obama won it handily four years ago.

Ryan has worked in Washington for much of his adult life, a contrast to Romney, who frequently emphasizes his experience in business.

The congressman worked as an aide in Congress, and also was a speechwriter for Jack Kemp, who years earlier had been one of the driving forces behind across-the-board tax cuts that were at the heart of Ronald Reagan's winning presidential campaign in 1980.

Ryan is also well-known for his fiendish physical fitness workouts.

His congressional district in southeast Wisconsin has something of a bipartisan voting record. Obama took 54 percent of the vote there in 2008, while the congressman received 64 percent in winning re-election.

Outside Ryan's home in Janesville, Wis., on Friday night, there was nothing to suggest that the residence belonged to a vice presidential candidate. An Associated Press reporter who knocked just before midnight got no answer. There was a light on in a first-floor room of the two-story brick home atop a hill.

Earlier this week, a Ryan adviser said the congressman, his wife and their three children were preparing for a weeklong Colorado vacation.

Most of Romney's staff learned of the planned announcement during a 10 p.m. EDT conference call Friday about an hour before the campaign issued a statement. The identity of Romney's pick was not disclosed during the call. The campaign had promised that first news of the selection would be delivered via a phone app.

Earlier in the day, Romney's campaign briefed reporters on the bus tour without mention of the impending vice presidential announcement.

The tour will take Romney through North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Ohio. All are battlegrounds where Obama won in 2008. They hold 75 electoral votes combined, of the 270 needed to win the election.
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FROM NBC's FIRST READ:
By NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray

Three different sources close to the Romney campaign indicate to NBC News that Mitt Romney will announce House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate at tomorrow's campaign event in Norfolk, VA.

Mitt Romney will announce his vice-presidential selection tomorrow, according to the campaign.

Though the campaign gave no indication of who it could be, the campaign said in a press release the former Massachusetts governor would announce his selection at 8:45 am ET in Norfolk, VA, the first stop on his swing-state bus tour.

The campaign says the announcement will be in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin -- which just happens to be the home state of potential VP Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

As First Read reported earlier this week, the VP finalists appear to be Ryan, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

There has been a lot of smoke surrounding Ryan in the past few days. Washington economic conservatives have pushed for his selection. Romney told NBC's Chuck Todd he was looking for someone with "a vision for the country," who "adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country.”

Friday night, the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol and Stephen Hayes reported: "[T]he Romney campaign has begun to prepare a vigorous effort in support of Paul Ryan if he is selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick—something now likely to happen soon.

For example, GOP officials tell The Weekly Standard that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is among a group of Republicans who has been asked to be ready, in terms of his schedule and other practical preparations, to make the case publicly for a Romney-Ryan ticket as early as Saturday."

National Review's Robert Costa reported earlier: "Take note, veep watchers: Earlier today, a charter plane took of in Boston, stopped in Chicago, then flew to the tiny airport in Janesville, Wis. Janesville, of course, is the hometown of Representative Paul Ryan, a top vice-presidential contender. According to a source on the ground, the plane is still in Wisconsin."

And Romney son, Tagg, Tweeted earlier today that he was in Wisconsin with Ryan: "In Milwaukee today along w #RepPaulRyanand #GovWalker to represent my family and offer condolences to the Sikh community."

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Carrie Dann reports that Tim Pawlenty will not be the pick. Pawlenty confirms he will be keeping his schedule tomorrow. He is not traveling to Virginia. He would not confirm that it will be Ryan. He said he did not speak to Romney today, but has spoken to him in recent days.
He says he's "not disappointed."

"You can get on with your lives now," he told reporters who had been following him.
*** UPDATE 2 *** A Ryan spokesman tells NBC's Alex Moe: "I'm saying I don't know anything definitive at all, so can't confirm anything on or off record."
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UPDATE:: NBC News has three sources telling the network that Rep. Paul Ryan, (R) Wisconsin, is Mitt Romney's choice for Vice President.

Also the National Review reports the following:
Earlier today, a charter plane took off in Boston, stopped in Chicago, then flew to the tiny airport in Janesville, Wis. Janesville, of course, is the hometown of Representative Paul Ryan, a top vice-presidential contender.
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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will announce his running mate Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va., his campaign said Friday night.

The short list of candidates - if there is one - is believed to include Ohio Rep. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. In a statement issued Friday night, the Romney campaign said the running mate would be revealed at 9 a.m. EDT at the Nauticus Museum. Romney is kicking off a four-day bus tour through swing states.

Speculation has focused in recent days on Ryan, the seven-term congressman. Conservative pundits have been urging Romney to choose Ryan in large part because of his authorship of a House-backed budget plan that seeks to curb overall entitlement spending and changes Medicaid into a voucher-like system to save costs.

Pawlenty was maintaining his Saturday schedule campaigning for Romney in New Hampshire, an official close to Pawlenty's political team said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak ahead of the formal announcement.

The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial on Thursday, praised Ryan as a strong choice for Romney: "The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. 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."

Romney's choice comes as he tries to repair an image damaged by negative Democratic advertising and shift the trajectory of a campaign that's seen him lose ground to President Barack Obama.

The vice presidential selection will dominate headlines, and Romney's team has been relentlessly teasing the announcement for weeks.

Romney's bus tour was expected to include appearances with Portman, as well as two others talked about as possible contenders for running mate: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The tour starts Saturday and will take Romney through four must-win states in as many days: North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Ohio. All are battlegrounds where Obama won in 2008. While Obama could afford to lose in one or more of them and still reach the 270 electoral votes needed for another term, Romney almost certainly needs all four to beat him.
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mitt Romney's campaign says the presumed Republican presidential nominee will announce his running mate Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va.

The short list -- if there is one -- is believed to include Ohio Rep. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

In a statement issued Friday night, the Romney campaign said the running mate would be revealed at 9 a.m. EDT at the Nauticus Museum. Romney is kicking off a four-day bus tour through swing states.

Romney's choice comes as he tries to repair an image damaged by negative Democratic advertising and shift the trajectory of a campaign that's seen him lose ground to President Barack Obama.

The vice presidential selection will dominate headlines, and Romney's team has been relentlessly teasing the announcement for weeks.


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