Ryan and Romney, April 3, 2012.
Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this file photo taken on April 3, 2012. Photo by AP
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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, the Romney campaign confirmed on Saturday.

"Mitt's choice for VP is Paul Ryan. Spread the word about America's comeback team," a Romney campaign app said, confirming widespread reports he had selected the 42-year-old Wisconsin lawmaker who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Ryan's selection will bring a measure of youthful exuberance to the Republican ticket as party activists prepare to gather in Tampa late this month for the convention that will formally nominate Romney as the presidential nominee.

But he would immediately draw attention to a budget plan he proposed as House budget chairman that would include unpopular cuts in government health programs for the elderly and poor.

Often likening Ryan to Ronald Reagan, conservatives say the Wisconsin lawmaker's supposed drawbacks as a candidate - mostly stemming from the steep cuts in social safety net programs he has proposed - are actually strengths that could bring heft, content and perhaps a spark to Romney's campaign.