WASHINGTON--It's the Romney-Ryan ticket. It's official.
"It's an honor to announce my running mate and the next vice president," Mitt Romney said Saturday in tapping Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)--standing in front of the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va. with a musical background evocative of an Olympics fanfare and the opening of the TV show, "The West Wing."
In making the introduction, Romney, 65, called Ryan, 42, the "next president of the United States."
Realizing his goof, Romney said smiling that "every now and then I'm known for making a mistake" -but he did not in picking Ryan.
A few moments earlier, Romney said, "...Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican party," "with an unbounded enthusiasm" for America's future.
"....We offer solutions that are bold, specific and achievable," said Romney, promising to create 12 million new jobs and higher wages.
After one of the ugliest weeks in the Romney battle with President Barack Obama, Romney accused the Obama campaign of taking politics to a "new low."
Romney is the "man of the moment," Ryan said, in introducing his wife, Janna and three children.
Romney's campaign on Saturday morning announced Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, calling the new ticket "America's comeback team." A Romney campaign source said Romney made the decision on Aug. 1 and called Ryan and asked him to get together.
"We can turn this thing around. Real solutions can be delivered. But, it will take leadership. And the courage to tell you the truth. Mitt Romney is this kind of leader. I'm excited for what lies ahead and I'm thrilled to be a part of America's Comeback Team. And together, we will unite America and get this done," Ryan said as he wrapped up his speech to music by Kid Rock.
In his remarks, Ryan went to work right away is hitting President Barack Obama over his tenure of the economy--Obama's main vulnerability.
"Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem,...and Mitt Romney is the solution," Ryan said.
Obama, "didn't make things better. In fact, we find ourselves in a nation facing debt, doubt and despair.
"This is the worst economic recovery in 70 years. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression. Families are hurting. We have the largest deficits and the biggest federal government since WW II. Nearly 1 out of 6 Americans are in poverty--the worst rate in a generation. Moms and dads are struggling to make ends meet. Household incomes have dropped more than $4,000 over the past four years.
"Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure," Ryan said to applause.
The campaign confirmed Ryan, of Janesville, Wisc., leaked late Friday night in a press release in advance of the first appearance of the new ticket at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk, Va.--in front of the USS Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a battleground state where President Barack Obama is running ahead.
Ryan is the House Budget Committee chairman known for his efforts to revamp Medicare into a voucher program--and not the single payer system where bills for patients get sent directly to the federal government.
The campaign said in a release "he has worked tirelessly leading the effort to reign in federal spending and increase accountability to taxpayers."
" ...he has focused on simplifying the tax code and making health care more affordable and accessible," the campaign said.
But Ryan's proposed revamping of Medicare will make him a ripe Democratic target--and a harder appeal to win over potential cross-over Democrats.
Ryan Lizza, in a New Yorker profile in the Aug. 6 issue wrote that Ryan has been on a successful "crusade to reinvent the Republican Party. ...Nearly every important conservative opinion-maker and think tank has rallied around his policies. Nearly every Republican in the House and the Senate has voted in favor of some version of his budget plan."
Democrats will see the Romney embrace of Ryan's budgeting theories--especially when it comes to Medicare--a program held dear by seniors--as a liability. Medicare benefits are a major issue in the battleground state of Florida.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee started fund-raising off the Ryan announcement right after it was made. DCCC executive director Robby Monk said in an e-mail, that Ryan is "the architect of the Republican plan to kill Medicare."
The Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in statement, "In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid.
"His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes."
Romney did not make the safest pick--selecting a running mate who is to his right. But Ryan is popular with the GOP base and could energize Republicans who are skeptical of Romney's conservative credentials.
"It's a bold decision" Bill Bennett said on CNN, who worked for the former Education secretary as a speechwriter for his think tank, Empower America.
Talk of a possible Ryan pick increased at the end of the week--after months where most of the speculation centered on Ohio Gov. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, both of whom were vetted by the Romney campaign.
The announcement and introduction of a running mate comes as Romney kicks off in Virginia a four-day battleground state bus tour that will also wind through North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.
The campaign made the announcement to supporters via a phone ap, a 2012 version of the text messaging the Obama campaign used in 2008 to tell backers that then Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) was tapped for the ticket.
Romney unveiled the new ticket at an event at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk in the morning.
The new GOP ticket then appears at a rally at the Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va, and winds up the day in northern Virginia, in a rally in Manassas.
Ryan was first elected to Congress in 1998 --when he was only 28-- and has become a specialist in government finance, serving on the Ways and Means Committee as well as the Budget panel. He is known for his work-outs and hunting: He is a member of the Congressional Sportmen's Caucus.
A Catholic, Ryan was born Jan. 29, 1970 in Janesville, was raised there and currently lives there with his wife, Janna, and their three children.
Republicans will officially nominate Romney and Ryan in Tampa, at the Republican National Convention which starts its four night run on Aug. 27.
The Democratic convention, spread over three nights, starts Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.
Click below for Romney release....
MITT ROMNEY & PAUL RYAN: AMERICA'S COMEBACK TEAM
Boston, MA - Mitt Romney today announced Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Below is Congressman Ryan's biography:
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is in his seventh term in Congress representing Wisconsin's First Congressional District. He is Chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he has worked tirelessly leading the effort to reign in federal spending and increase accountability to taxpayers. He also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he has focused on simplifying the tax code and making health care more affordable and accessible.
In January 2010, Ryan gained attention nationwide after unveiling his "Roadmap for America's Future," a proposal to eliminate the federal deficit, reform the tax code, and preserve entitlements for future generations.
Representative Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on January 29, 1970. A fifth-generation Wisconsin native, Ryan was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom.
In April 2000, Ryan proposed to Janna Little, a native Oklahoman, at one of his favorite fishing spots, Big St. Germain Lake in Wisconsin. Later that year, the two were married in Oklahoma City.
The Ryans reside in Janesville with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam. The family are parishioners at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
Upon entering Congress in January of 1999, Ryan was the youngest member of the freshmen class at the age of 28. Prior to running for Congress, Ryan served as an aide to Republican Senators Robert Kasten Jr. and Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. and Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp, and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned degrees in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a member is of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen.