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Rep. Paul Ryan might just be “the one thing everyone in this election agrees on,” writes Talking Point Memo’s Sara Libby. The GOP conservative base got its “dream pick” and Democrats got their “dream opponent.” As soon as word started getting out that Romney had picked the Wisconsin lawmaker to be his running mate, Democrats rushed to express their glee. Bill Burton, the co-founder of the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, called the choice a mistake hours before it was made official, reports USA Today. “If it's really Ryan, Romney will have picked one of the only people who could have had an impact in the race,” Burton wrote on Twitter. “But, not the way he wants.”
Democrats quickly moved to cast Ryan as an extreme politician who favors tax cuts for the wealthy and wants to destroy Medicare. The campaign quickly released a 90-second video in its official YouTube channel (embedded below) that casts Ryan as a politician who is willing to cut medical care for seniors and aid for students in order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. It ends with an ominous message: “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: Back to the failed top-down policies that crashed our economy.”
“I haven’t been this happy waking up since I was 12 and got a BMX for Christmas,” a top Democrat tells the Hill. Over the next few days, the Obama campaign will push the message that Romney has “capitulated to the extreme in his party” a Democrat tells ABC News.
The thing that most seems to please Democrats is that they’ve already spent lots of time attacking the budget Ryan proposed as chairman of the House Budget Committee, particularly focusing on the measure that would turn Medicare into a voucher program, points out the Washington Post. Now they won’t have to work very hard to tie those criticisms to Romney. Democrats also think the selection could help them in congressional races across the country because other Republicans who have avoided taking a position on the Ryan budget will be forced to do so.
The Wall Street Journal does a good job of outlining the main points of the Ryan budget that includes cuts of around $6 trillion in projected spending over the next decade, while also cutting around $3 trillion in revenue by decreasing both corporate and individual taxes.
Democrats were quick to note that the inevitable discussions over Medicare suddenly gives Obama renewed hope of hanging on to Florida, where the vote of retirees can be decisive, points out the AFP. Democrats will also focus on the fact that Ryan has little foreign policy experience, a fact that could become more significant after Romney’s gaffe-filled international tour.
Democrats will have to be careful not to overplay their hand, warns Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast. Ryan is smart and charismatic, but if Democrats show respect for him and calmly explain what he’s proposed it’s difficult to imagine “that middle-of-the-road voters” will support his vision.
Although Democrats are expressing their glee now, “the smarter ones are worried,” assures the National Review’s John Fund. Ryan has won in a Democratic district seven times, showing how his “Reaganesque qualities … make him appealing to independent, middle-class voters.”