To the editor:

The selection of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate is a critical decision for the Romney campaign. A few weeks ago Romney was polling within a few percentage points of Obama. Since then he has fallen six or eight points behind. A major change was called for.

The selection of a vice president was an opportunity to strengthen Romney’s campaign by countering Romney’s vague description of what he would do if elected. He might have selected a moderate, an Hispanic or a woman to run with him.

Instead, Romney has chosen a man in his own image: an ultra conservative.

In selecting Ryan, Romney has found someone who can tighten his budget and tax proposals. Ryan can counter Obama’s ads claiming success in managing the nation’s budget and reducing the national debt.

With that appointment, however, Romney will have almost certainly lost what he had of the independent vote.

Richard Chapin