As Mitt Romney's VP selection nears, Paul Ryan polarizes GOP
Steven Senne, File, Associated Press
Right around the time when the New Yorker's lengthy profile of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., came online last week, buzz started building about the possibility Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney could tab Ryan to be his running mate.
Now those whispers have reached a full-throated crescendo.
National Review Online's Robert Costa wrote Tuesday, "Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget king of the GOP, may be Mitt Romney’s veep. These days, you hear it everywhere — from Republican donors and veteran operatives, and at Capitol Hill watering holes. A few weeks ago, it was a wishful rumor floating in the Beltway ether. Now, sources close to the Romney campaign say it’s for real, that the taciturn former Massachusetts governor is quietly warming to the idea."
Interestingly, different factions within the GOP passionately disagree over the potential wisdom of a Romney-Ryan ticket.
"As Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection nears and buzz about Rep. Paul Ryan’s prospects builds," Politico reported Wednesday, "a split is emerging among Republicans about whether the choice of the House Budget chairman and architect of the party’s controversial tax and spending plan would be a daring plus for the ticket or a miscalculation that would turn a close election into a referendum on Medicare."
The heart of the case for Ryan-as-running-mate, per the Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid: "President Obama and other Democrats are going to take aim at Mr. Ryan’s budget and Medicare plan, an attempt to rein in federal spending that has become the focal point of the Republican policy agenda in Congress. Why not have Mr. Ryan himself explain it?"
Conversely, the Atlantic's David Graham highlighted some of the potential liabilities that could emerge with Ryan running alongside Romney. "Democrats fantasize over the idea of running against Ryan," Graham wrote. "So Republicans would face an onslaught. (Ryan) wouldn't add much in the foreign policy department. And he's never run in any constituency larger his congressional district, which centers on a town where his family has been prominent for generations. While he might be a very effective nationwide campaigner, he's simply not proven."
Even though Team Romney's announcement of a running mate could come any day, it's apparently still an open-ended issue. The two other people not named who are also considered to be serious contenders in the Romney veepstakes — former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio — are both campaigning Wednesday as Romney surrogates.
"While he campaigns in Iowa today, Mitt Romney will get a boost from two vice presidential hopefuls in two key swing states," ABC News blogger Arlette Saenz reported Wednesday. "Sen. Rob Portman will hop aboard a Romney bus for a five-stop day in Colorado while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will hold an event at a Victory Center in Jackson, Mich."
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