With GOP Ticket Settled, Race to Define Ryan Is Underway

BY Terence Burlij and Christina Bellantoni  August 13, 2012 at 9:12 AM EDT

Mitt Romey and Paul Ryan campaign Saturday in Manassas, Va. Photo by Terence Burlij/PBS NewsHour.

The Morning Line

The GOP ticket is set, and the race by Republicans and Democrats to define Rep. Paul Ryan for the American people is underway.

Mitt Romney praised his running mate as “a real leader” during their first joint interview Sunday with Bob Schieffer on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

“This is a man who’s dedicated the last 14 years working in Washington in ways that are not highly partisan or political, but instead are focused on what he thinks the right course is for America. And that’s the kind of person I want,” Romney said. “This is a man who’s also very analytical. He’s a policy guy. People know him as a policy guy. That’s one of the reasons he has such respect on both sides of the aisle.”

President Obama welcomed Ryan to the campaign Sunday, offering his congratulations while also referring to the Wisconsin lawmaker as the “ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress.”

“Congressman Ryan is a decent man. He is a family man. He’s an articulate spokesman for Gov. Romney’s vision. But it’s a vision that I fundamentally disagree with,” the president said. “My opponent and Congressman Ryan and their allies in Congress, they all believe that if we just get rid of more regulations on big corporations and we give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, it will lead to jobs and prosperity for everybody else. That’s what they’re proposing. That’s where they’ll take us if they win.”

The Obama campaign also released a web video Monday that goes straight at the House Budget Committee chairman’s proposal and its overhaul of Medicare. The clip, released in advance of Romney’s visit to Florida on Monday, features Sunshine State residents sharing their concerns about how Ryan’s budget would impact health care for retirees.

“Those kind of cuts are going to be incredibly painful to the working-class person and because we’re going to be the ones that are going to be paying for them,” says one man.

You can watch the full video here or below.

During Sunday’s interview, Schieffer pressed Romney on how he would respond to Democratic attacks that Ryan’s budget transforms Medicare and cuts social programs such as education.

“America has a choice. A very clear choice,” Romney said. “Are we going to continue to spend a trillion dollars more every year than we take in? And pass that burden to our children?”

Schieffer also asked Romney if his decision to pick Ryan as his running mate meant the election was now a referendum on the House GOP budget and not the president.

“Well, I have my budget plan as you know that I’ve — I’ve put out. And — that’s the budget plan that we’re going to run on,” Romney said. “At the same time, we have the record of President Obama. If people think, by the way, if their utility bill has gone down, they should vote for him. If they think jobs are more plentiful, they should vote for him.”

For his part, the president also suggested that voters will have the opportunity to choose from two very different visions for the country in November.

“I believe that women should have control over their health care choices. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have a different view. I believe it was right to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” and let anybody who loves this country fight for this country. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have a different view,” the president said at a second Chicago fundraiser Sunday.

Mr. Obama added: “I believe in investing in clean energy, that we shouldn’t just restrict our energy approach to fossil fuels. Mr. Romney and Congressman Ryan have a different view. On international policy, I think ending the war in Iraq was the right thing to do. Gov. Romney disagrees.”

The effort by both sides to draw contrasts will continue Monday, as President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Romney and Ryan are all scheduled to stump in battleground states.


On Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va., Ryan offered his first outline of his ticket’s vision for the country. “We can turn this thing around,” Ryan said, promising to have “the courage to tell you the truth.”

Watch the duo’s debut event here or below:

(Here’s Marcus’ weekend take on Ryan.)


The Senate primary in Wisconsin already was getting a lot of attention. But with a popular state Republican now on the presidential ticket, you can bet the contest will take on outsized importance.

Our partners at Wisconsin Public Television have been taking a look at the three-way race, which pits former Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Rep. Mark Neumann, Eric Hovde and Jeff Fitzgerald against each other for the chance to take on Rep. Tammy Baldwin for the open Senate seat.

Here are WPT reporter Zac Schultz’s profiles on Thompson, Neumann, Hovde and Fitzgerald.


  • The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee released a television ad Monday that again accuses the president of ending work requirements for welfare.

  • Politico’s Mike Allen, Ginger Gibson and Maggie Haberman had the behind-the-scenes details on the Ryan selection.

  • Romney appeared to endorse Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to succeed current Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2013, but later back-pedalled to say he would support either Bolling or his opponent in the GOP primary, state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli.

  • From the archives: Judy Woodruff interviewed Ryan about his budget plan in April 2011.

  • 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will not speak at the upcoming GOP convention in Tampa.

  • If you’re flying through Charlotte, N.C., this month, be prepared to tell Google Insights whom you plan to vote if connect to airport wifi.

  • Jon Huntsman Sr. says he’s not the leak to Harry Reid but takes the opportunity to pressure Romney to release his tax returns.

  • MoveOn.org has a new television ad to run in each city on Romney’s bus tour.

  • Pew finds most voters say they already know what they need to know to form a clear impression of the candidates, but know more about Mr. Obama than his running mate. Test your News IQ here.

  • Steven Johnson and Rodrigo Campos note the stock market has had a strong run during the president’s first term.

  • Author Rachel Swarns talked to Gwen Ifill about her new book, “American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Mulitracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama.” With the help of a genealogist, Swarns identified a 10-year-old slave girl, Melvinia, bequeathed in a will, who would go on to become Mrs. Obama’s maternal great-great-great grandmother. Watch the conversation here or below.



  • Rep. Mazie Hirono bested former Rep. Ed Case in Hawaii’s Democratic Senate primary Saturday. Hirono will face former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in November.

  • Roll Call’s Jonathan Strong reports House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will sue Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday for refusing to provide documents related to the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.

  • The Democrat running against Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Rob Zerban, raised $75,000 from more than 3,000 individual donations since Saturday’s announcement, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

  • YG Action, a super PAC for the so-called Young Guns, will spend $6 million on House races in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, Indiana, Virginia, Nevada, New Hampshire and California.

  • Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have returned home to Tucson, Ariz., after Giffords spent months in Houston rehabilitating.

Tiffany Mullon and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • Mitt Romney campaigns in Florida with stops in St. Augustine at 8:20 a.m., Orlando at 12:30 p.m. and Miami at 5:35 p.m.

  • President Obama campaigns in Iowa with events in Council Bluffs at 12:25 p.m. and Boone at 6:15 p.m.

  • Vice President Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Durham, N.C., at 12:45 p.m.

  • Paul Ryan visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines at 2 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.