Romney picks Ryan as his presidential running mate
REPUBLICAN US presidential candidate Mitt Romney named Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate yesterday, choosing a politician viewed as a bridge between the Republican establishment and the small-tax, anti-big-government Tea Party Movement.
Mr Ryan's conservative credentials are highly regarded by fellow Republicans, while many polls during the primaries found that Mr Romney's own were suspect among core Tea Party supporters.
With his choice, Mr Romney sought to boost his own credentials, repair an image damaged by negative Democratic advertising and shift the trajectory of a campaign that's seen him lose ground to President Barack Obama.
Having Mr Ryan on the ticket could also help Mr Romney become more competitive in Wisconsin, where Mr Obama won easily four years ago -- but that could be much tighter this November.
Mr Romney made his announcement via a phone app. "Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan," it said, and implored backers to spread the word.
The ticket-mates arranged their first joint appearance later in the morning at a naval museum, the initial stop of a bus tour through four battleground states in as many days.
In a written statement issued a short while later, Mr Romney's campaign said that Mr Ryan had worked in Congress to "eliminate the federal deficit, reform the tax code and preserve entitlements for future generations".
At 42, Mr Ryan is a generation younger than the 65-year-old Romney. His Irish/ German family have lived in Wisconsin for five generations. A seventh-term congressman, Mr Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, and primary author of conservative tax and spending blueprints that the Tea Party-infused Republicans approved over Democratic opposition in 2011 and again in 2012.
It envisions transforming Medicare -- the national health insurance program for Americans aged 65 and older -- into a program in which future seniors would receive government checks they could use to purchase health insurance. Under the current programme, government directly pays doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.
Mr Ryan and other supporters say the change is needed to protect the programme from financial calamity. Critics argue it would impose ever-increasing costs on seniors.
Other elements of the budget plan would cut projected spending for Medicaid, the government plan that provides health care for the poor, as well as food stamps and student loans.
In all, it projected spending cuts of $5.3 trillion over a decade, and cuts future projected deficits substantially.