The Mitt Romney VP Guessing Game is officially over now that the Republican presidential candidate has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate. Romney’s campaign made the much anticipated announcement first as promised via a smartphone app early Saturday morning.
Following the announcement, Ryan tweeted (from the presumably new Twitter account @PaulRyanVP):
Romney introduced Ryan as his vice presidential pick at a rally in Virginia beside (what else?) the U.S. Navy battleship Wisconsin.
“A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life,” Romney said. “With energy and vision, Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America. ... He combines a profound sense of responsibility of what we owe the next generation ... of all the wonderful things Americans can do. ... Throughout his legislative career, he has shown the ability to work with both parties to find common ground on some of the hardest issues facing the American people.”
Romney promised to cut the deficit, champion small business and “unleash our energy resources to achieve North American energy independence” alongside Rep. Ryan. “We will help care for those who can’t care for themselves,” he said, in a statement that seems to contradict this expression of Ryan’s views outlined in a profile published in The New Yorker earlier this month:
In a 2005 speech to a group of [Ayn] Rand devotees called the Atlas Society, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told the group. “The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”
Platitudes abounded during Ryan’s acceptance speech. Among them was a dig at President Obama made by invoking something Ryan said his father told him before his father died. “Either you’re part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem,” he recalled. President Obama, Ryan declared, is part of the problem.
“Let me say a word about the man Mitt Romney is set to replace. No one disputes that President Obama inherited a difficult situation. In his first two years… he passed nearly every item on his agenda,” Ryan said. But the state of the economy adds up to a “record of failure” for the current administration.
The Obama administration quickly responded to the announcement by pointing out that Ryan is a leader of a currently unpopular Congress and that a Romney/Ryan administration would “end Medicare as we know it.”
Watch Mitt Romney make the announcement below, and hear MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris-Perry break down Paul Ryan’s budget plan with Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein and Avik Roy, senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.
Romney’s campaign formally alerted supporters at 7 a.m. via an iPhone app that the seven-term congressman would be the Republican vice presidential nominee. Minutes later, the campaign sent out a release calling Romney and Ryan “America’s comeback team.”
By selecting Ryan, Romney has made a potentially bold but risky move to reset the dynamics of the presidential election. He has chosen the intellectual heart of the movement within the Republican Party to slash deficits and signaled a desire to place the nation’s looming fiscal challenges at the center of the campaign’s final months.
... With his selection, Romney offers voters the starkest possible choice on how to address issues of spending and taxing, embracing Ryan’s single-minded focus on reducing the nation’s debt without raising taxes.
It is a fight Democrats have savored, believing the details of Ryan’s budget will turn off voters and persuade them that Democrats offer a fairer path to reduced deficits through a combination of spending cuts and higher taxes on the wealthy.