• WisPolitics

Saturday, August 11, 2012

 12:44 PM 

Walker: Ryan pick part of a 'cheesehead revolution'

WAUWATOSA -- Gov. Scott Walker gave vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan a resounding endorsement today and joked it's another sign of a "cheesehead revolution."

"If there was a Paul Ryan fan club, I'd be president," Walker said the morning after he learned Mitt Romney picked Ryan as his running mate.

Walker indicated he knew Ryan would be the nominee last night. Walker told reporters in Wauwatosa that he and Ryan "texted back and forth" last night and that as Walker said his nightly prayers last evening, "at the top of my list was Paul Ryan and his family."

Walker also said he spoke to Ryan on the phone this morning. "I also talked to Reince Priebus ... an extremely proud cheesehead," said Walker. Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Walker suggested Ryan would provide a likable, even demeanor on the campaign trail.

"What I love, is with Mitt Romney, you've got an outsider who's willing to come in to Washington and shake things up and get the economy and budget going," said Walker. "And he's paired with Paul Ryan, someone who, no matter what you think about his politics, has been, not just today but for years, revered by both Democrats and Republicans alike, for his courage, for his integrity, for the tone of his debate and his discussion."

Walker also said he planned to talk a lot about Ryan at the GOP national convention later this month.

Walker noted that Ryan has won re-election repeatedly in the 1st Congressional District, a blend of rural and urban, Republicans and Democrats.

"The 1st Congressional District is literally one of the most competitive," Walker said.

But it hasn't been competitive for Democrats since Ryan's election in 1998, and redistricting has made the district more Republican.

Walker said Ryan has built a comfortable base of support in the district and that his "bold ideas and ability to listen" will win over swing voters.

"Wisconsin is very much a swing state, one of the 12 battleground states -- we're up and down like a roller coaster," said Walker, acknowledging that the state has leaned Democratic at the top of the ticket in presidential elections.

But Walker said he hoped that Wisconsinites who had perhaps voted for Ronald Reagan and later voted for Barack Obama "to give him a chance" would now think, "We made a mistake."

Walker said he didn't think Ryan's strident stance on overhauling Medicare and Social Security would hurt Romney's campaign, because "Mitt Romney's the candidate ... he's the one driving the plan."

Walker said he and Ryan grew up in neighboring counties -- Ryan in Janesville in Rock County and Walker in Delavan in Walworth County. But the two didn't meet until they were in their 20s.

Walker noted that they both were elected to their first office at a young age: Ryan to Congress at 28; Walker to the state Legislature at 25. He said they also shared a common early work experience. Both of them had worked at McDonald's restaurants as teens, but Walker said Ryan had been told at the time by his manager that he "didn't have the interpersonal skills to work the front cash register."

"Somewhere in America there's got to be a former manager of his who owes him a big apology," said Walker.

Walker said he planned to join Ryan on the campaign trail and that for his supporters during the recall, Ryan's nomination "will further energize the base."

Walker said he and Ryan didn't discuss Tuesday's GOP Senate primary in Wisconsin, adding he won't endorse any of the candidates in that race.

-- By Kay Nolan
For WisPolitics.com

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