As he stumped across his home-state of Wisconsin with Mitt Romney this past week, Rep. Paul Ryan looked the part of a Vice President. Comfortable and confident as Romney’s wing-man, the young Congressman warmed up the crowds before Romney speeches, penned an email fundraising appeal, and even participated in a staff-organized April Fool’s prank on the Massachusetts Governor.
Even so, a Ryan pick has as many risks as it does potential rewards.
– Respected and revered by both the Tea Party and more traditional GOP establishment types, Ryan can help bridge the Santorum-Romney divide.
– At just 42 years old, Ryan can appeal to those younger voters that turned out for Obama in 2008, but have turned cool on his tenure as President.
– In an era of skyrocketing cynicism about the political process, Ryan can present himself as a straight talker who is willing to touching “third rail” political issues like entitlement spending in order to get the U.S. budget back on track.
– He represents a key battleground state that GOPers believe they can win for the first time since 1984.
– Those who have seen Romney and Ryan up close on the trail say that the two really clicked.
–Two words: Ryan budget. The Obama campaign wants nothing more than to make the 2012 campaign a referendum on Ryan’s deficit reduction plan that recently passed the House on a purely party-line vote. The Democratic message, as delivered by President Obama today at an AP luncheon, is that the Ryan plan is ” really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly veiled Social Darwinism.”
– Romney wants to make this election all about jobs and the economy, but with Ryan on the ticket, Democrats will make sure that he spends most of his time defending a deficit reduction plan that isn’t even going to make it out of the House.
–Like Romney, Ryan prefers power point presentations to emotional appeals. If Romney is looking for someone to add some spice and excitement to the ticket, the wonky Ryan isn’t really the guy.