Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old Janesville Republican and House Budget chair who rose to national prominence with a controversial fiscal plan, was tapped by presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to be his running mate today.
"America's comeback team," as the duo was dubbed by the campaign, appeared together in front of the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va. before a live TV audience and a throng of reporters and onlookers. The announcement, coming earlier than most vice presidential selections in U.S. history, kicks off a campaign swing through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio. The national GOP convention is about two weeks away.
National pundits saw it as a bold move by Romney to energize the conservative base of the party and articulate a vision for economic hope through budget reform. Romney, trailing in the polls to President Obama nationally and in Wisconsin, has had conservative critics despite beating back challenges from conservatives during the primary season. Ryan had been pushed by fiscal conservatives to run earlier this year, but instead became a strong Romney supporter. Fans say Ryan will bring a strong retail politician to the ticket who has experience making his case to independents and Democrats in once what was considered a swing district. Ryan also is some things Romney is not: a Catholic, an avid hunter, and someone who can connect with young voters.