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Paul Ryan-Mitt Romney ticket draws praise from Utah politicos who call Ryan a serious choice

Utah politicians excited by Mitt's choice

Published: Saturday, Aug. 11 2012 5:36 p.m. MDT

Rep. Paul Ryan and his wife Janna, visit with Gov. Gary Herbert at a Mia Love fundraiser Friday, June 22, 2012 in Park City.

Joy Gough, Joyful Moments Photography

SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney’s pick of conservative Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate sent a buzz throughout the Utah political community Saturday. From top civic leaders to average voters, the choice was considered a bold move by many observers from both sides of the political aisle.

Gov. Gary Herbert called the Romney-Ryan ticket the ideal team.

“Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan underscores Romney’s commitment to turn around the nation’s economy and get America working again,” Herbert said. “Not only is Ryan an experienced conservative and a nice complement to Romney, he has demonstrated leadership on reigning in federal deficit spending. This Republican team is exactly what the nation needs to get our fiscal house in order and restore economic health.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz called Ryan “the right guy.”

“Paul Ryan knows more about the budget process and the financial woes of this country than anyone on Capitol Hill,” Chaffetz said. “He is by far the best prepared to deal with out financial crisis."

“I couldn't be happier. It's a serious pick,” he said. “I'm so proud of Mitt Romney that he selected Paul Ryan, because he's a person of integrity, he's a person of principle and he's got so much substance."

Ryan is no stranger to the Utah political scene. In June, he was among the 60 or so in attendance at a Park City fundraiser for Romney and also attended a fundraising event for Mia Love that same weekend.

Ryan brought along some generous donors and the event hauled in more than $65,000 that was expected to help boost Love's campaign to unseat six-term Utah Rep. Jim Matheson in the race to represent the 4th District.

"We want to extend the universal ideals of this country, as an opportunity society with a safety net, a society of upward mobility, a society where we promote equal opportunity," Ryan told the Deseret News following the event.

Love Saturday lent her voice to the chorus of GOP faithful lining up in support of the new GOP presidential ticket.

“Congressman Ryan has led the fight in Congress to get the federal budget under control, save our entitlement programs, and get government off the backs of job creators.” Love said. “These are priorities of working Utahns, and it is no great leap to predict that Utah’s support for the Romney/Ryan ticket on November 6th will be overwhelming.”

Even politicos on the opposite side of the spectrum lauded Ryan’s selection to fill out the GOP ticket as a solid choice. However, Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis warned that Ryan could be a potentially polarizing figure to some voters.

“Ryan is the candidate of the Tea Party,” he said. “This gives Romney a new dimension. There is the Ryan budget, the Ryan 'view of the world.' That may activate a lot of the Republican base that Romney hasn’t been able to reach out to before.”

Whether the choice is a “wise political move” remains to be seen, he said.

Referring to a recent conversation with Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, Dabakis said that Frank described Ryan “as a guy who says what he thinks, (who) is civil (and) will negotiate.”

“That’s good for the country,” Dabakis said. “Even though I think his policies are a disaster, he does have that reputation in Washington of being real up front. That will help Romney.”

However, Dabakis said that Ryan’s budget plan to “eliminate” Medicare for seniors would be among the big issues on the campaign trail that would be tough to overcome.

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