Opinion Brief

Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick: Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan

At an early morning event in Virginia, Romney introduces Paul Ryan as his running mate, in what is seen as a risky but bold move that could shake up the presidential campaign

The video: In Norfolk, Va., on Saturday morning, just over two weeks before the Republican National Convention, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced his running mate, introducing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), in a slip of the tongue, as the "next president of the United States." (Watch Romney speak below.) With the U.S.S. Wisconsin, a "hulking battleship," as his backdrop, Romney quickly corrected himself, saying, "Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake." He went on to tout seven-term congressman Ryan, 42, as "an intellectual leader of the Republican party" and an individual whose character everyone can "respect." Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman — whose controversial budget plan calls for slashing spending by $5 trillion over a decade, while cutting taxes and slowly replacing Medicare — said he was "thrilled to be a part of America's comeback team." Immediately launching into an attack against President Obama's "failed leadership," Ryan said that "the hopes of our country... are growing dim, and they need someone to revive them."

The reaction: The Obama campaign pounced on the Ryan announcement, arguing that Romney's choice shows his commitment to "budget-busting tax cuts" for the wealthy and "greater burdens" on the middle class and seniors. But to conservatives, Ryan is seen as "a fiscally conservative crusader," says Jonathan Lemire at the New York Daily News, "and his selection could be viewed as an olive branch to the party's right-wing — including the Tea Party — who never fully warmed up to Romney," even if it does little to "silence the calls that [Romney] is an elitist." Ryan will undoubtedly "bring reluctant conservatives into the fold," says Rachael Larimore at Slate. What's most promising about Ryan is that while his "voting record definitely makes him a social conservative," he also "acts like he has no time for social issues because the economy is a more pressing matter." It was quite a relief "to watch him get through his speech without any nod to 'family values.'" Ryan is a "stunning, terrible choice," says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast, that shows that Romney will be running an "ultraconservative campaign" and is "owned by the right wing." And since Ryan has actual ideas, the policy-challenged Romney will be overshadowed by him. In a sense, Romney just became the "ticket's No. 2." Watch Romney introduce Ryan: 

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