Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Some political scientists and prominent Maine Republicans and Democrats were quick to comment on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's pick of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice-presidential running mate.
Within hours of Romney's announcement Saturday, statements about the selection of Ryan were flying from all sides.
Republicans tended to see the selection of Ryan, known for his conservative and controversial budget plan to remake Medicare and cut deeply into federal spending, as a sign that Romney intends to make fiscal conservatism the focus of his campaign.
Maine Democrats took a predictably dim view of Ryan's economic ideas, while political scientists said Ryan would appeal to voters interested in reductions in the federal budget deficit, cuts to federal government spending and retaining tax cuts for the wealthy.
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe said the selection indicates Romney is serious about federal deficit reduction and economic growth.
"It is vital that we have a national conversation on the necessity of getting America's fiscal house in order given our skyrocketing and historic levels of deficits and debt -- and how we achieve this goal will determine the future fiscal and economic security of our country."
Snowe said Romney's vice-presidential choice "underscores his commitment to policies that are critical to establishing an environment for expanding our economy and creating jobs, including overhauling our broken tax code and reforming federal regulations that are stifling America's greatest job generators -- our small businesses."
Sen. Susan Collins said while she does not support Ryan's budget proposals, he does have an extraordinary knowledge of the federal budget and deficit, which is important to tackling the $16 trillion debt burdening the country's economy and taxpayers.
"I give him enormous credit for taking on this significant issue, something the president regrettably failed to do," Collins said.
Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, the Republican nominee for Snowe's seat, called Romney's choice bold.
It "shows that he is committed to getting our fiscal house in order," Summers said.
Maine Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney of Sanford, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in the 1st District, praised Romney's pick.
"I have said from day one that the Ryan budget is a good starting point for serious discussions on how to reduce the deficit while protecting our seniors," he said.
Maine Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep Mike Michaud for his 2nd District seat, said Ryan will appeal to independent voters.
"The Romney-Ryan ticket's positive message of job growth and fiscal responsibility offers a brighter future for America and a clear choice versus the Obama-Biden record of 42 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, skyrocketing debt and ramming through a costly, flawed and unpopular health care law," Raye said.
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said Romney's choice shows how out of touch Romney is with working- and middle-class families.
"Romney sent a message to Americans today: If you don't have a big bank account and millions of dollars, he doesn't want your vote," Grant said.
Michaud said he fundamentally disagrees with a number of Ryan's policy ideas, including his push to change Medicare into a voucher program for Maine seniors and future retirees.
Michaud said tax cuts for the wealthy have already been tried and failed in the last decade.
"All it's done is given us giant deficits year after year," Michaud said.
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