Elections 2012: Mitt Romney To Choose Paul Ryan As Running Mate

Mitt Romney will announce his choice of running mate in Virginia today, with numerous sources indicating he will pick Congressman Paul Ryan to join him on his campaign for the White House.

Mitt Romney will announce Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate on Saturday, according to two sources with knowledge of the decision. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will introduce Ryan at the retired battleship USS Wisconsin – coincidentally named for Ryan’s home state – in Norfolk, Virginia, at about 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).

Ryan is a bold pick who will energize the Republican Party, but putting him on the ticket is fraught with risk and instantly puts Ryan’s budget plan front and center in the 2012 campaign, reports The Huff Post.

After Republicans took control of the House in January 2010, Ryan became chairman of the House Budget Committee. Suddenly he was one of the Republican Party’s most visible and formidable leaders, and a frequent guest on cable news shows and the Republican speaking circuit.

The young congressman is both a talented campaigner and an expert in budget minutiae. In 2011, Ryan unveiled the “Ryan Plan”, a radical set of propsals to cut the federal budget by $6 trillion in a decade.

The plan, which passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives last March despite significant Democratic opposition, aims to cut tax rates while also slowing the rapid growth of the federal debt, according to Reuters. It would do so mainly by cutting domestic programs that many Democrats have vowed to protect.

Conservatives consider Ryan to be one of the brightest, best young faces and minds who can cheerfully articulate a case for limited government while simultaneously arguing that a less expansive bureaucracy and a revamped entitlement system is the best way to preserve government aid and benefits for the poor, indigent and elderly.

However, The Telegraph points out, the Romney campaign refused to confirm reports that Mr Ryan would be on the ticket. The campaign’s short list is also said to include Rob Portman, an experienced senator from the swing state of Ohio; Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota; and Marco Rubio, a charismatic Cuban-American serving his first term as Senator for Florida.

Both Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana and Chris Christie, the brash Governor of New Jersey, are also thought to be in the running.

At the same time Ryan’s budget and his proposed changes to programs like Medicare will now be central issues that drive the presidential campaign for the remaining three months. It is one way for Romney to turn a campaign that has turned ugly and personal, often to his detriment, into a heated debate over policy.

The former Massachusetts governor Romney has a reputation for caution and methodical decisions and few expect him to make a “wild card” choice like John McCain did with Sarah Palin in 2008.

“Conservatives are going to be very energized because this is a demonstration that Romney was willing to make a bold pick,” said Republican strategist Matt Mankowski. “It may not be what he wanted to do three or six months ago, but I think this is as significant a choice as he could have made.”

After announcing his choice, Romney will set off on a four-day tour of the battleground states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio touting his economic plan to strengthen the middle class.

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