Aug. 22, 2012 — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has dominated the political news by picking U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.
Ryan, 42, is seen as a rising GOP star and the party's acknowledged expert on fiscal and budget issues in his role as chair of the House Budget Committee.
Romney’s announcement was great political theatre with his audience sitting on the deck of the USS Wisconsin, a retired World War II battleship now used as museum in Norfolk, Va.
The military angle prompted one TV analyst to note that, for the first time in memory, the presidential and VP slates in both major parties do not include anyone with military experience or anyone from the South.
“Bold but risky” was the term most used by the network pundits to describe Ryan’s choice by the 65-year-old Romney whose poll results this summer show President Obama building a wider margin in the key states.
We believe Ryan’s selection will energize the Romney campaign but it is worth noting that no one is a perfect candidate and the new running mate brings some liabilities.
Ryan has gotten lots of attention for his radical budget proposals which critics say would unfairly target the poor and the old.
He has been accused of turning Medicare into “medi-scare” by suggesting that the program be gradually replaced with a voucher program for private medical insurance. He also wants a higher retirement age.
Although his conservative credentials are established, he was among House Republicans voting for the Wall Street bailout, the “Troubled Asset Relief Program” (TARP) in 2008.
Having been in Congress for seven terms, many see him as a Washington insider, noting that national polls show that the approval ratings of members of Congress are at about 12 percent these days.