House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
(CBS News) -- It's official: Mitt Romney's campaign has announced he has
chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, bringing to the
ticket a youthful budget hawk who will help underscore the GOP ticket's
focus on righting the economy with substantial changes to government
The Romney campaign communicated the pick via iPhone
app at around 7 a.m. Saturday. Ryan will join Romney for an appearance
in Norfolk, Va., on the deck of the USS Wisconsin at 9 a.m.
Ryan, 42, is a bold - and risky - choice. The chairman of the House Budget
Committee, has proposed fundamental changes to the social safety net,
including eventually turning Medicare into a system of direct payments
to seniors that would allow them to buy their own insurance. Ryan has
also called for replacing Medicaid with lump sum payments to states, who
can use them as they see fit, and sought to allow workers to invest a
portion of their payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, in private
accounts. (Some of these proposals have been tweaked or abandoned.)
Democrats have used Ryan's proposals to criticize the vast majority of Republicans who voted in favor of his budget plan,
which Romney has embraced. While many conservative opinion writers have
rallied around Ryan, saying his proposals represent a necessary effort
to reign in the debt and deficit, some have suggested his positions
could sink the GOP. When Ryan released his budget plan, conservative
columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote that "at 37 footnotes, it might be
the most annotated suicide note in history." And then-presidential
candidate Newt Gingrich famously referred to Ryan's Medicare plan as "right-wing social engineering", which resulted in criticism from Gingrich's fellow Republicans.
a Janesville native who has represented Wisconsin's 1st district since
1999, is a likeable and natural presence on the campaign trail. He has
been a strong advocate for Romney and could help Republicans win his
home state, which President Obama won comfortably in 2008, but which is
very much up for grabs this year. The state has seen a number of
dramatic political developments in the past two years, with conservative
Republican Gov. Scott Walker surviving a recall election this year. A
strong debater who appears prepared to face off with Vice President Joe
Biden, he will energize a conservative base that has shown skepticism
about Romney due to his record as Massachusetts governor.
selection of Ryan represents a fundamental change in campaign strategy.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has until this point
sought to make the election largely a referendum on the president. That
ends with the choice of Ryan, a policy wonk who has offered up a clear
and detailed alternative to the president's policies. His addition to
the ticket will likely move the political conversation in a more
substantive direction, with the two sides are offering clear
alternatives to the American people.
A former Hill staffer, Ryan has spent most of his professional life in Washington
- he won his seat when he was just 28 - and he could undercut Romney's
message that America needs a tested political outsider at the helm of
the economy. He has gone toe-to-toe with the president in public forums,
and argues that the president wants to move the United States toward a
"European" style of government. His policies have been celebrated by
conservative think tanks and opinion leaders, who see Ryan as a
potentially transformative figure who can convince Americans that the
time has come to reign in entitlement programs as part of what Ryan
calls the "Path To Prosperity."
The president has called Ryan's proposals "deeply pessimistic."
nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by
spending trillions of dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and
billionaires," he said last April. "And I don't think there's anything
courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it
and don't have any clout on Capitol Hill."