Appearing for the first time as Mitt Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is attacking President Barack Obama for what he calls a "record of failure."
The seven-term congressman says Obama has led the "worst economic recovery in 70 years." He notes that unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years … the longest stretch since the Great Depression.
Romney's supporters, who awaited the campaign's smartphone application to announce the identity of his running mate, were in for a disappointment: The application notification went out a little after 7 A.M. – over seven hours after the information was leaked by a Republican source with close ties to the campaign.
Sources close to Romney said that he made the decision to pick Ryan on August 1, a day after his return from the less-than-successful visits to Britain, Israel and Poland.
The underlying message in picking Ryan – the architect of the drastic plan to cut the Federal budget – is that Romney does not intend to strengthen his weak points; he plans to come out swinging as hard as he can on the one issue he believes he commands – the economy.
Also on Saturday, Obama's campaign released a statement criticizing Ryan for sharing Romney's commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy."
The statement added that "as a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.”
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.
Governor Jeb Bush said in a statement on Saturday that he "applauds Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Congressman Ryan’s command of economic policy and the federal budget will prove invaluable as Governor Romney fights to reform government, accelerate job growth and rein in the out-of-control spending that has been a hallmark of President Obama’s years in office."
Conservative leader Ralph Reed said that Romney's choice is "an inspired, outstanding selection. Paul Ryan is a rare and exceptional public servant who combines the courage of his convictions with a sharp intellect and a winsome personality." He added that Ryan "is a person of devout Christian faith who has a 100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record in his 14 years in Congress. He will excite and energize social conservatives, who will play a critical role in the outcome of the elections.
Age and location of birth: 42; Jan. 29, 1970; Janesville, Wisconsin.
Experience: U.S. Representative, 1998-present; marketing consultant, Ryan
Inc. Central, 1997-1998; legislative director for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback,
1995-1997; adviser and speechwriter, Empower America, 1993-1995; aide to
U.S. Sen. Bob Kasten, 1992.
Education: Bachelor's degree, Miami University of Ohio, 1992.
Family: Wife, Janna; a daughter and two sons.
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