Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.
Also in Slate, William Saletan writes that Paul Ryan is what a Republican should be, David Weigel explains why conservatives love him, Matthew Yglesias explains how the pick means both sides will ignore the election's most important issue, and Emily Bazelon asks if Romney just surrendered Florida.
UPDATE: As was largely expected, it’s all about the Ryan budget now. As soon as Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, the budget the lawmaker from Wisconsin had put forward, which includes lower taxes and cuts in the social safety net, suddenly took center stage. But on Sunday, the Romney campaign also tried to say that just because he had selected Ryan as his running mate, no one should assume that’s what he will present when he becomes president, reports the Associated Press.
"Gov. Romney is at the top of the ticket,” noted Romney spokesman Kevin Madden. Another adviser said that while Romney would have signed Ryan’s budget, if he wins the election he would “be putting forward his own budget.” That tenuous effort to make clear that Romney didn’t commit to Ryan’s budget simply by selecting its author as his running mate, seems to be a recognition of the risks involved in selecting someone who has been pushing for unpopular cuts in social programs.
For Democrats on Sunday, though, the mission was clear: Say that Ryan’s budget and Romney are one and the same. And talk about Medicare as much as possible. The head of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida, made the strategy clear early Sunday, calling it the “Romney-Ryan” plan and characterizing it as “extremist” on Fox News, reports Politico. For his part, Obama adviser David Axelrod called Romney and Ryan “kindred spirits” who share “extreme” views, notes the Hill.
Meanwhile, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom went on CBS to say that picking Ryan was a “bold courageous choice” because “this is no time for complacency,” reports the National Journal. "Paul Ryan has a budget," he said, while President Obama offers "no policy agenda for the second term,’ he added.
Making it clear Republicans are ready to answer attacks on Medicare, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on NBC that “if any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it’s Barack Obama. He’s the one who is destroying Medicare; we are the ones that are offering solutions.”
On the campaign trail though, it seems clear the Ryan selection has reinvigorated not only Romney but also his supporters. Romney and Ryan launched their second day of campaigning with a rally in North Carolina in front of 1,700 supporters, while 4,000 were forced to go into two overflow areas, reports the Washington Post.
“I feel like I’m in Woodstock!” GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory said before the rally.
It marked the second day of record-breaking crowds for the Romney campaign, writes Yahoo! News, noting that more than 8,000 people attended a rally in Virginia on Saturday.
Saturday, Aug. 11 at 3:05 p.m.: Just hours after being named to the GOP ticket, Rep. Paul Ryan quickly launched harsh attacks against President Obama on Saturday, criticizing his “record of failure,” illustrating how the Wisconsin lawmaker is moving into the role of Mitt Romney’s “chief attack dog,” writes the Associated Press.
As part of a bus tour through four battleground states, Romney and Ryan stopped at a bakery in Ashland, Va., to buy pie. Ryan was asked whether it was an easy decision to accept the vice-presidential slot. “It was. It was,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to save the country.”
Romney’s campaign says the former governor raised more than $1.2 million in the four hours following the announcement that he had picked Ryan as his running mate, reports Yahoo News’ Holly Bailey.
Meanwhile, former president George W. Bush praised Ryan, calling him a “strong pick,” reports Politico.
Saturday, Aug. 11 at 11:55 a.m.: The conventional wisdom is clear. Running mates can clearly hurt a presidential campaign, but they really don’t make much of a difference in helping a candidate win. But there are three big reasons why the Ryan selection could be different. First of all, as Politico points out, it changes Romney’s basic strategy about the race: Make it about Barack Obama. It also could vastly help Romney erase persistent doubts about his conservative credentials among some of the most important members of the GOP base, points out the Wall Street Journal. And it virtually assures that the country’s fiscal challenges will take center stage in the campaign, writes the Washington Post.
One thing is clear, the choice was not a safe one. Ryan’s recent rise to fame is largely tied to a budget proposal that includes a fundamental re-shaping of how Medicare and other entitlement programs operate. Many have criticized Romney for lacking specificity in what he would do if elected, but as of today, Ryan’s ideas basically become Romney’s ideas, meaning there is a bigger chance the campaign will now turn on actual issues.
“The good thing about the Ryan pick is that the presidential campaign will instantly turn into a very clear choice between two distinct ideologies that genuinely reflect the core beliefs of the two parties,” explains The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza.
Yet the reason why the Ryan pick is risky goes beyond policy, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza clearly outlines. There’s also the problem that Ryan is untested on the national political stage.
Up until now, Romney seemed to believe that as long as he made the election a referendum on Obama, he wouldn’t have to do much else. Yet the selection of the 42-year-old, seven-term congressman from Wisconsin changes all that. Politico writes that one of the key questions is whether Romney is ready for a Big Ideas debate, noting that Ryan’s background virtually assures that a general discussion over who can best turn around the economy will at times shift to a broader discussion of the role of the federal government in American life.
While pundits debate what effect Ryan’s selection will have on the campaign, the lawmaker will focus his immediate energy on raising money. Romney’s new running mate will headline at least 10 fundraising events between Aug. 13 and Aug. 25, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Saturday, Aug. 11 at 9:55 a.m.: Mitt Romney introduced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate at a rally in Norfolk, Va., this morning. The risky choice of a Washington insider as his running mate virtually ensures that the issues of government spending, taxes, and debt will take center stage at the presidential race, reports the Washington Post.
“His leadership begins with character and values,” Romney said before introducing Ryan. The 42-year-old lawmaker “has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party,” Romney said, adding that “we offer our commitment to create 12 million new jobs and bring better take home pay to middle class families.”
Romney mistakenly introduced Ryan as the next president of the United States. He later played off the mistake: "I did not make a mistake with this guy," he said.
"I am deeply excited and honored to join you as your running mate," Ryan said at the podium with the USS Wisconsin the background. “We won’t duck the tough issues, we will lead.”
Saturday, Aug. 11 at 8:55 a.m.: It's official. Mitt Romney has picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate, the Republican candidate confirmed to supporters via a mobile phone app Saturday morning, reports Reuters. "Mitt's choice for VP is Paul Ryan. Spread the word about America's comeback team," the Romney campaign application said.
Moments after the confirmation, the campaign sent out a release calling Romney and Ryan "America's comeback team," reports the Washington Post.
Romney will introduce Ryan as his new partner on the campaign trail at the retired battleship USS Wisconsin in a naval museum in Norfolk, Va.
Saturday, Aug. 11 at 1:52 a.m.: A Republican source confirms to the Associated Press that Romney has picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate.
Satuday, Aug. 11 at 1:25 a.m.: Pretty soon, all the guessing games will be over. Mitt Romney is set to announce his vice-presidential pick Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in Norfolk, Va. While the campaign has obviously not released the name yet, all signs seem to be pointing to Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. NBC News hears from three different sources “close to the Romney campaign” that Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, will be the pick. The Huffington Post’s Jon Ward hears the same from “two sources with knowledge of the decision.”
The Weekly Standard also sees signs that Ryan is the choice, noting that the campaign has started to prepare "a vigorous effort" in support of the congressman, calling on key officials to be ready to come out in support of the seven-term lawmaker, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Although the Weekly Standard is careful to note this doesn’t mean Romney will actually pick Ryan, it hasn’t been able to find evidence that there is similar preparation under way for other would-be contenders. Even though it’s entirely possible the campaign is “engaging in the same kind of shenanigans” that other campaigns have engaged in, it seems strange the Romney campaign would purposefully set up the GOP’s conservative base for such a big disappointment.
For its part, Politico points out there seems to be a clear sign toward Ryan in the Romney news release that previewed the announcement because the Saturday morning event will be taking place at the USS Wisconsin.
The other three men believed to be on top of the vice-presidential short-list include Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, according to the National Journal. Republicans have essentially split into two groups in recent days, notes the Wall Street Journal, those urging a safe pick such as Pawlenty and those pushing for a “bolder pick” such as Ryan or Jindal.
Conservatives have grown increasingly excited about the possibilities of Ryan as the running mate, largely because he wrote a House-backed budget plan that would cut entitlement spending and apply changes to the way Medicaid operates, points out the Associated Press. In a preview of the possible vice-presidential picks, The New Yorker’s John Cassidy wrote that if Romney chooses either Ryan or Sen. Marco Rubio, it would be a sign that “he thinks his campaign is in trouble and he needs to shake things up.” Either candidate would certainly energize conservatives but they would both represent gambles, Cassidy noted earlier this week.
Indeed, the Wall Street Journal celebrated the possibility of a Ryan pick this week, noting that “he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election.” The Wisconsin lawmaker has managed to stand out because he “has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.”
Others have also suggested Ryan could be an attractive choice because he could help Romney win Wisconsin. Yet as the New York Times’ Nate Silver pointed out recently, Romney “should not expect any miracles” because historically running mates “have gained their ticket a net of two percentage points, give or take, in their home states.” Of course, two percentage points could be enough to put him over the edge in a close contest, but something working against Ryan is that he’s hardly universally liked across the state. Overall, 38 percent of voters in the state have a positive view of Ryan, while 33 percent give him a negative rating.
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed points out that Ryan was voted "biggest brown-noser" in high school and that the lawmaker is a big fan of Ayn Rand.