Reports say the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as running mate. According to reports, Romney and Ryan will appear together Saturday in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour.
ABC News reports that although Republicans close to the Romney campaign say Romney has chosen Paul Ryan to be his running mate, Romney campaign has declined comment, saying the announcement will be on Saturday morning. ABC News reports Romney has several events planned Saturday in Virginia and will announce his running mate at a stop at the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va.
Observers say the name of the ship raised speculations that Romney would pick Ryan. The location of the event in Virginia also raised separate speculations that Romney's choice would be Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, but according to ABC News, McDonnell would not say whether or not he was Romney's choice. ABC News reports he said: "I guess we'll have to stay tuned and see tomorrow. You know, there's only a couple people that know and that's Mitt Romney, so we'll find out tomorrow."
Boston.com reports Romney's campaign issued a statement on Friday night that says Romney's running mate will be revealed at 9 a.m. EDT at the Nauticus Museum. News that Romney was about to announce his running mate first broke on Twitter when Romney's communications director Gail Gitch tweeted: "@MittRomney will announce his VP pick tomorrow in Norfolk. Download the VP app to be the first to know. mi.tt/Mitt-VP."
Fox News reports the selection comes two weeks before the start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. A choice of VP at this time gives Romney space to rally the party behind his pick before the convention. Fox News also notes that the choice comes at a time recent polls show that the Republican presidential candidate is losing some ground to President Obama.
Romney has called at least two other possible vice presidential candidates and told them they have not been chosen but he did not tell them who he picked, ABC News reports.
Analysts say that Romney had shown during the GOP primary that he is comfortable with Ryan. According to Boston.com, conservatives within the party have been urging Romney to choose Ryan because of his authorship of a House-backed budget plan that seeks to curb entitlement spending and save costs on Medicaid.
Romney fueled speculations that Ryan was his choice when he told NBC that he wants a vice president with "a vision for the country, that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country." Many interpreted the statement as indication that Ryan was now top of the shortlist that includes Ohio Senator Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Romney's choice of Ryan is seen as part of an effort to counter the damage caused by "negative" Democratic campaigning that has focused heavily on Romney's business and tax history. Observers also see the choice of Ryan as an attempt to connect with the tea-party movement that has so far kept a distance from Romney.
Ryan's credentials is augmented by his position as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Conservatives see Ryan as a candidate who will focus on balancing the government’s books. According to The Huffiington Post, Conservative believe Ryan is "one of the brightest, best young faces and minds who can cheerfully articulate a case for limited government while simultaneously arguing that a less expansive bureaucracy and a revamped entitlement system is the best way to preserve government aid and benefits for the poor, indigent and elderly."
Democrats have attacked Ryan's budget plan that includes overhaul of Medicare. Ryan, however, insists that the plan will address the growing deficit caused by entitlement spending.
But Democrats say the proposal will adversely affect the poor and the old. With Romney's choice of Ryan for VP, the attack is expected to intensify. The Huffington Post says Liberals will campaign against a Romney-Ryan ticket, saying Republicans are planning to cut assistance to the poor. The Huffington Post notes that Obama has already attacked Romney with a reference to Ryan's proposal, saying he wants to "turn Medicare into a voucher program."
Analysts say Ryan as VP could also help to improve Romney's chances in Wisconsin, a state Obama won in 2008.
According to Boston.com, The Wall Street Journal in a Thursday editorial endorsed Ryan, saying he is a good choice for Romney: "The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House budget chairman 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."