The PJ Tatler

Paul Ryan: 'It's Clear to Me that [Romney] Understands the Fork in the Road that We're On'

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan endorsed Mitt Romney for president today, just four days ahead his state’s primary.

“I think he deserves to be the nominee. I think he earned it. He has emerged as the best candidate,” said Ryan in an interview, also arguing that it’s time for “conservatives to coalesce around Romney” before the primaries take too much of a toll.

“I believe it’s getting to the point where it’s going to become counter-productive if the primary drags on. It’s going to get much tougher to defeat Barack Obama in the fall,” said Ryan, who is often touted a serious vice presidential prospect this year. The congressman was expected to campaign with Romney in Wisconsin this weekend.

After Scott Walker, Ryan is the biggest endorsement “get” in next Tuesday’s GOP primary, especially for a candidate, Romney, who has struggled to consolidate the support of more conservative voters.  Ryan’s standing with the GOP base in the state extends beyond his southern Wisconsin congressional district. Walker, a highly galvanizing figure among GOP voters in Wisconsin, says he will not be endorsing anyone before the Wisconsin Primary.

Romney has had a very good week on the endorsement front, racking up support from two of the GOP’s young stars, Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and one of its elder statesmen, former President George H. W. Bush.

Rep. Ryan appeared on Fox and Friends today to discuss the endorsement; that’s where he spoke the headline for this post. He also addressed whether his endorsement came as a result of a deal with Romney that would put Ryan on the Republican ticket in the vice presidential slot. Ryan said that there is no such deal, but he did not rule out joining the ticket at some future date.

Ryan is regarded as one of the brightest and most serious figures in Washington; his endorsement is a good get if late in the game. His framework for Medicare reform has dominated Republican efforts to rein in government spending. His budget easily passed the US House this week, while the president’s own budget went down to a humiliating defeat, 414-0. Regarding endorsing Romney, Ryan offered two reasons — that Romney’s financial background enables him to understand and be able to tackle America’s massive debt problem, and that Romney has emerged as the most likely winner of the GOP primary.