Paul Ryan Is High-Risk, High-Reward for Mitt Romney


Paul Ryan, Fundraiser Extraordinaire

For – Ryan is a prolific fundraiser. Not that Romney is stuck for cash, but by the end of the first fiscal quarter of this year Ryan had raised $3.1 million for this election, his eighth, which like the six before it is not considered competitive.

Against – Ryan's ability to raise money is tied to his reputation as the party's foremost deficit hawk. But as a vice presidential nominee, he would be required to compromise some of his fiscal purity. Every running mate has to give a little up for the good of the ticket. The question for Ryan is whether giving up tailoring his brand to fit the current GOP platform will cancel out his initial appeal.

Also of note, Ryan has never campaigned for himself outside of his own congressional district. And Ryan's reputation for fiscal austerity would likely be challenged by Democrats who will point to his "yes" votes on the bank bailouts and on President Bush's pricey Medicare expansion program.

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's "Sixth Son"

For – Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are pals. By all accounts, the men genuinely get along. Sarah Palin's shadow has long cast itself over this process, and while none of the likely picks have much in common with Palin, Republicans will be comforted to know that Ryan is a pretty sure bet to stay on message even as the race begins to heat up.

Against – Great, they can eat dinner and talk policy without clawing at each other's necks. But when they're having these discussions, are they agreeing? Ryan hasn't been shy with his criticism of Romney's Massachusetts health care reform law, saying he's "not a fan of the system" and that, despite there being "96 or 98 percent insured, [people in Massachusetts] see the system bursting at the seams."

Paul Ryan, Wisconsinite

For – President Obama beat John McCain by 14 points in Wisconsin in 2008. Today, the spread is just six. Ryan could help keep the Badger state in play. Even if they don't win there, Obama would have to spend money to defend what had been considered safe ground.

Against – People, as the saying goes, vote for president, not vice president. It's unlikely, come Election Day, anyone who's currently undecided or leaning toward Obama will hop on the Romney bandwagon just because Ryan's riding shotgun.

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