The congressman from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, is a bold choice for Romney.
Ryan made a name for himself when he authored the House Republican budget plan that, among other things, made significant cuts to entitlement programs including Medicare and Social Security, as a way to deal with the soaring national debt. (RELATED:10 interesting facts about Paul Ryan)
The Ryan plan became a rallying cry for Republicans, and Romney himself endorsed it last March. But Democrats and liberal groups have tried to turn the telegenic Ryan into a kind of right-wing bogeyman. One left wing group, The Agenda Project, even produced an ad featuring a Ryan look-alike literally throwing an old woman off a cliff.
Indeed, the Ryan plan is already part of the Obama campaign’s attack line.
“The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid,” Obama for America’s Jim Messina said in a statement. “His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors.”
Critics have expressed concerns that picking Ryan would allow the Obama campaign to shift the focus of the race away from the stumbling economy and onto Medicare and entitlements. Additionally, Ryan voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008, and for the Medicare Part D prescription drug bill — both of which remain unpopular with Republicans. (He explained his votes in an interview with The Daily Caller.)
But Ryan adds excitement to the campaign. At just 42 years old, he has become a star among conservatives — someone who thinks the big ideas and came make this a “big election over big issues,” in the words of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, who touted him as the best choice on Aug. 9. While Romney doesn’t particularly excite the conservative base of the party, Ryan sends shivers down its spine.
It doesn’t hurt that Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin is a battleground state considered crucial to win the presidency, and one that both Romney and Obama will fight hard to win. Having Ryan on the ticket, a Public Policy Polling poll found, would boost Romney’s chances in the Badger State.