In choosing a vice presidential running mate for the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney was drawn to Paul Ryan's Wisconsin values.
Romney's VP selection — described by many as energizing, bold and even risky — shines a national spotlight on the 14-year congressman seen as a rising star in the Republican Party.
Hailing from Janesville, Ryan began his career on Capitol Hill as an aide and a speechwriter to various Republican politicians. He was elected to the House at the age of 28, and has grown into leadership positions such as chairing the House Budget Committee and serving on the Ways and Means Committee. He rose to prominence in 2010 after unveiling his “Roadmap for America’s Future.”
Ryan's veep selection was announced via a smart phone app early Saturday morning. Romney made a more formal announcement on a tour of the U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA two hours later.
"America's Comeback Team"
Dubbing themselves "America's Comeback Team," Romney and Ryan spoke highly of each other as they made their announcement in front of an excited Republican crowd.
Romney said Ryan is an "intellectual leader of the Republican Party." Romney also said Ryan understands that people can have honest disagreements without making personal attacks.
"There are a lot of people in the other party who might disagree with Paul Ryan, but I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t respect his character and judgment," Romney said.
Touting Ryan's Wisconsin values, Romney said Ryan is "a person of great steadiness, whose integrity is unquestioned and whose word is good."
But Romney said Ryan's firm principles are balanced by his "practical concerns for getting things done."
"He's shown the ability to work with members of both parties to find common ground to on issues concerning American people," Romney said.
Romney initially introduced Ryan as "the next President of the United States," but later corrected himself before Ryan took the podium.
Ryan said he is excited to join Romney's campaign, saying the former Massachusetts governor has the "the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history."
"Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them," Ryan said. "Governor Romney is the man for this moment; and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country."
In his speech, Ryan says he has toured his congressional district and talked with voters who think the economic recession is "the new normal."
"High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal. It's the result of misguided policies," Ryan said. "And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans."
The crowd at the gathering had a warm reception to Ryan, chanting "USA" when Ryan said, "Our rights come from nature and God – not from government."
- WI GOP insiders:
- WI Reactions:
- Full text:
- A Rapid Ascension:
- Initial reports:
Bold or Risky?
Romney's pick is seen by national politicos as a risky pick compared to former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the other two potential candidates on his VP short list.
In a statement to Politico and other national reporters, President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina criticized Ryan and his "Roadmap" plan.
"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," Messina said.
Gov. Scott Walker said in a news release that Romney's "bold and reform-minded selection" was a good one.
“This election has to be about who is going to look out for the next generation. America needs a comeback team to turn around the economy and to turn around the fiscal status of our country," Walker said. "Romney and Ryan have the ideas and the experience needed to take on these core issues. This is a great day for Wisconsin and an even greater day for America.”
In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he believes Romney and Ryan have the knowledge, expertise and vision needed to rejuvenate the country's economy.
"Across the country, Americans are hurting, but America's Comeback Team will offer us a new direction and a brighter future," Priebus said. "I congratulate Governor Romney on his excellent decision. This is a great day for Wisconsin and for America."
While some political observers around the country may be familiar with Ryan's political beliefs, most of the country is being introduced to him for the first time Saturday morning.
tells a story of a rising star in the Republican Party that got his start as an aide to Jack Kemp, Sam Brownback and others.
A lifelong Janesville resident, Ryan was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom. His father passed away when he was a boy.
"That forced him to grow up earlier than any young man should," Romney said in his announcement. "But Paul did, with the help of his devoted mother, his brothers and sister, and a supportive community. And as he did, he internalized the virtues and hard-working ethic of the Midwest."
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, according to a news release from the Romney campaign.
The Ryans still reside in Janesville with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam. The family are parishioners at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a member is of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen, according to the release.