Sunday, December 8, 2013
By PHILIP RUCKER AND ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN The Washington Post
NORFOLK, Va. - Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice-presidential running mate, introducing the seven-term congressman and architect of Republicans' budget-cutting plans at a spirited rally on the deck of a battleship here Saturday.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, and vice presidential candidate Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wave at the crowd during a campaign event Saturday in Norfolk, Va., where Romney introduced Ryan as his running mate.
The Associated Press
In this April file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign stop. Romney announced Saturday that he has picked Ryan to be his running mate. They will appear together Saturday in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.
The Associated Press
In shirtsleeves and tie, Romney promised that he and Ryan would restore the American economy by cutting deficits and growing jobs. He called Ryan a man of integrity and character rooted in his middle-class Midwestern upbringing and said he had chosen a candidate with a vision for addressing the nation's fiscal problems.
"He's never been content to simply curse the darkness," Romney said of Ryan. "He'd rather light candles."
Romney said that he and Ryan will travel the country offering a campaign focused on "American aspirations and American ideals."
Bounding to the deck of the USS Wisconsin -- a not-so-subtle nod to Ryan's home state -- Ryan used his introduction on the national stage to praise Romney as a "man for this moment," a leader capable of resetting the economy.
"Mitt Romney is a leader with the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history. Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim, and they need someone to revive them," he said. "Gov. Romney is the man for this moment, and he and I share one commitment: We will restore the dreams and greatness of this country."
By selecting Ryan, Romney has made a potentially bold but risky move to reset the dynamics of the presidential election.
He has chosen the intellectual heart of the Republican Party's movement to slash deficits and signaled a desire to place the nation's looming fiscal challenges at the center of the campaign's final months.
But Ryan's proposal to overhaul Medicare has already become a favorite target for Democrats, who charge that it would essentially end the popular retiree program and shred the social safety net.
Reacting to the pick, Jim Messina, campaign manager for President Obama's re-election effort, called Ryan's budget proposals "radical" and said they would ensure "budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors."
Elevated to chairman of the Budget Committee with the Republican takeover of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, Ryan authored a budget proposal that called for reducing deficits to their lowest levels in decades by dramatically shrinking spending.
Notably, the plan called for reshaping Medicare into a government payment that would allow seniors to purchase private insurance, an attempt to curb the rising costs of the entitlement program.
That idea will now play a key role in critical swing states with large retiree populations, most notably Florida, where Romney and Ryan are scheduled to campaign Monday.
The choice will likely energize a GOP base that sought a campaign with a clear vision for the country and not focused exclusively on criticizing Obama. In Norfolk, a crowd of more than 1,500 lustily cheered nearly every line of his short address, responding with more obvious enthusiasm to Ryan than to the man who chose him.
But Democrats have savored the chance to place Ryan's prescription for deficit reduction at the heart of the presidential election, believing details of the plan will convince voters that Democrats offer a fairer path to reduced deficits through a combination of spending cuts and higher taxes on the wealthy.
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