Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney formally announced Saturday morning that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will be his running mate. Aboard the U.S.S. Wisconsin, Romney praised Ryan for his character.
Romney said Ryan’s early life shaped his character - one of leadership and values. Ryan’s father died when he was young.
"He’s a person of great steadiness whose integrity is unquestioned and whose word is good," Romney said.
In a city “characterized by pettiness and personal attacks,” Ryan doesn’t demonize his opponents, Romney said. Romney also touted Ryan’s conservative credentials as an anti-abortion, faithful Catholic.
Ryan combines firm principles with practical concern for getting things done in a bipartisan way, Romney said.
Romney slipped up in his introduction of Ryan, initially referring to him as the next president of the United States. Romney quickly corrected himself, saying Ryan will be the next vice president – but said he made no mistake in selecting Ryan as his running mate.
Local political leaders said they were pleased with Romney’s choice. Deb Flavin, Centre County Republican Committee secretary and executive director, said she was hoping Romney would pick Ryan.
“Like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan understands the need for pro-growth policies,” Flavin said. “This is the team that can put America back on track. I really believe that.”
Ryan has the energy and ideas to balance the budget, and he will be able to assume the role of commander-in-chief, should the need arise, Flavin said.
Penn State College Republicans Chairman Jordan Harris said up until today, the presidential race was lackluster and didn’t really generate much enthusiasm on either side. Now, it’s a real race, he said.
Only time will tell how Romney’s choice will affect the election, but Ryan’s entrance changes the narrative, Harris said.
Before, the question was who could handle the economy better. With Ryan's entrance, the question is who can handle all of the issues facing our government, he said.
“This forces both sides to have answers for these issues,” Harris said. “In that way, what he brings is a new conversation, a very, very serious conversation.”
Penn State College Democrats President Drew McGehrin wrote in an email that although he wasn’t entirely surprised by Romney’s choice, it was a bold one for the campaign. Choosing Ryan as his vice president should energize the conservative base that Romney’s been struggling to reach, McGehrin wrote.
“These voters would arguably have voted for Romney regardless of the pick. The real question lies in the middle-of-the-road voters and how this pick will affect their opinions,” he wrote.
Both the Republican leaders and McGehrin said voters will have two very different tickets from which to choose.
In his remarks, Ryan sharply criticized President Barack Obama and emphasized the American dream. He said his father always told him he was either part of the problem or part of the solution. Obama is the problem, and Romney is the solution, Ryan said.
“It is our duty to save the American dream for our children and theirs,” he said.
Ryan also praised American ideals and pledged that the Romney-Ryan ticket would uphold and restore them.
“America is an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not the government,” Ryan said.
The crowd interrupted with a ‘USA’ chant before he continued.
America promises equal opportunity, not equal outcomes, Ryan said. He said he and Romney won't replace America's founding principles if they're elected - they will reapply them.
Flavin said Romney’s choice should help his chances of winning in November.
“This ticket wants to restore the American dream. That’s a good thing. I think a lot of people will be happy with this ticket.”