Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney picked “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party” to join him on the Republican presidential ticket this morning, telling a crowd of supporters on the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va., that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has the “energy and vision” needed to move forward into the White House.
“Paul and I are beginning on a journey that will take us to all corners of America,” Romney said. “…His leadership begins with character and values Paul is a man of tremendous character.”
“He is a person of great steadiness whose integrity is unquestioned and his word is good,” Romney added, noting that Ryan “doesn’t demonize his opponents.”
“There are a lot of people in the other party who disagree with Paul Ryan,” the presumptive GOP nominee continued. “…He’s never been content to simply curse the darkness; he’d rather light candles.”
Then came Romney’s slip that made Twitter explode.
“Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan,” Romney said.
After the House Budget Committee chairman came out to wild cheers, Romney backtracked on his boo-boo. “Every now and then I’ve been known to make a mistake,” he said. “I did not make a mistake with this guy.”
The Romney camp tried to defuse the gaffe by pointing out that gaffemaster Joe Biden once announced Obama as “Barack America.”
“For the last 14 years, I have proudly represented Wisconsin in Congress. There, I have focused on solving the problems that confront our country, and turning ideas into action; and action into solutions,” Ryan said. “I am committed, in mind and heart, to putting that experience to work in a Romney Administration. This is a crucial moment in the life of our nation; and it is absolutely vital that we select the right man to lead America back to prosperity and greatness.”
Ryan, whose “Path to Prosperity” budget plan has already been a campaign battle target of Democrats, stressed his small-government beliefs and longtime mantra that the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal path.
“Our rights come from nature and God, not government,” he said. “…We won’t blame others, we will take responsibility. And we won’t replace our founding principles, we will reapply them.”
“We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes,” Ryan said.
Ryan, 42, came to Congress in 1999 and is one of the co-founders of the GOP Young Guns program, along with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). He’s a member of the Republican Study Committee conservative caucus. He has been married since 2000 to Janna, a tax attorney, and they have three children.
Last year, Ryan crafted a bipartisan framework for structural Medicare reform with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee.
The announcement went out on the Mitt’s VP phone app at 7:04 a.m. The Romney camp quickly had a new Twitter account up for the congressman: @paulryanvp. It quickly amassed thousands of followers.
The Democratic National Committee replaced its home page with a large picture of Ryan and an email field to “get the facts on Paul Ryan.”
“Ryan’s extreme budget plan, which Mitt Romney has embraced, would make deep spending cuts now to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, which would weaken the recovery and cost the economy jobs,” the DNC said on a page calling the GOP ticket “the go-back team.”
“Paul Ryan’s extreme budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program which would increase seniors’ health costs by $6,350 a year,” the DNC continued.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who generated a hefty amount of veep buzz, released a statement praising Romney’s selection of Ryan. “I got to know Paul during my Senate campaign when he endorsed me early on when I was still considered a long shot,” Rubio said. “Paul Ryan is a courageous reformer who understands our nation’s challenges, has proposed bold policy solutions to solve them, and has shown the courage to stand up to President Obama and other Washington politicians trying to tear him down.”
“Great VP choice with Paul Ryan. Romney-Ryan admin. will get Americans back to work and get our fiscal house in order!” Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) tweeted.
“Great choice for VP. America needs a little R&R!” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) tweeted.
“Romney-Ryan is a ticket we can be proud of. The country needs a turnaround and this is the ticket to do it,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
Actor Kal Penn, though, tweeted: “This is awful. I was hoping it would be Jindal so I could play him in the HBO movie.”