Romney to pick Paul Ryan as VP - reports

2012-08-11 10:00
Paul Ryan (AFP)

Paul Ryan (AFP)

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Norfolk - White House candidate Mitt Romney will announce Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate on Saturday, US media reported citing campaign sources.

The Romney camp earlier said the Republican hopeful would announce his vice presidential pick around 13:00 GMT in Norfolk, Virginia during a prime photo opportunity at the USS Wisconsin, a decommissioned World War II-era battleship that also saw service during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

NBC News, CNN and The Huffington Post were among US media that cited at least two campaign sources confirming Ryan would get the nod.

The announcement venue on its own made Ryan a likely pick.

Ryan, a wonkish budget hawk whose plan to slash federal spending and lower taxes has won over many Republicans, is from the state of Wisconsin, which shares the name of the battleship.

The timing of the roll-out means Romney will have his running mate by his side during a vital tour bus swing through the battleground states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, four states that Obama won in 2008 but are in play this time around.

Putting Ryan on the ticket would mean Romney is gambling that voters want nothing less than a showdown over the nation's fiscal future and the role of government in American life.

The seven-term congressman became the clear choice for many influential conservatives seeking a bold running mate for Romney.

A serious and impassioned yet even-tempered fiscal pitbull, Ryan has emerged as a star in the House of Representatives' Republican caucus, which has embraced his plan to slash spending.

While a clear Washington insider who at age 42 has already worked on Capitol Hill nearly half his life, the House budget committee chairperson is pledging a revolutionary, once-a-generation debate about the direction of the economy.

A budget proposal he put forward that would cut spending by some $5 trillion over the next decade was approved by the House in March, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans opposed.

Although it has no chance of passing the Senate, where the Democrats are in control, the plan frames the Republican position on spending and debt reduction and puts pressure on Democrats over tax and spending issues.

And yet the budget blueprint is fraught with political dynamite. Obama and his Democrats have demonized the plan as giving tax breaks to millionaires while gutting much-needed federal programs and placing excessive financial pressures on middle-class Americans.

It also includes a plan to semi-privatise Medicare, the government health insurance programme for the elderly.

Ryan has been praised in recent weeks in several prominent editorial pages.

In an editorial on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal said the conservative darling would be a strong choice for Romney that "best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election", with the sour economy high on top of voters' concerns.

"More than any other politician, the House budget chairperson has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline," it said.

Unveiling the vice presidential pick at the USS Wisconsin is sure to carry heavy military symbolism at a time when the Pentagon is facing drastic budget cuts.

Romney has criticised President Barack Obama's administration for slashing hundreds of billions of dollars from military programmes.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  paul ryan  |  us  |  us elections 2012

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