Romney picks Ryan as running mate

Romney picks Ryan as running mate

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a source.

Mr Romney’s completion of the Republican ticket comes as he tries to repair an image damaged by negative Democratic advertising and shift the trajectory of a campaign which has seen him lose ground to president Barack Obama.

The vice presidential selection will dominate headlines, and Mr Romney’s team has been relentlessly teasing the announcement for weeks.

Mr Ryan, 42, is viewed by some in the Republican Party as a bridge between the buttoned-up party establishment and conservative activists who have never warmed to Mr Romney.

As the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Mr Ryan could help Mr Romney make the argument that only the Republican ticket knows how to turn around a nation in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery.

As talk about Mr Ryan swirled this week, Democrats have been castigating Mr Romney for embracing the Ryan-sponsored budget proposal that critics say is painful to the poor and elderly. It was a sign of the line of attack to come.

The move also now links Mr Romney directly with House Republicans, including no-compromise conservative activists who have pressed for deep spending cuts. Mr Obama has been casting House Republicans as an impediment to progress in an often-gridlocked Washington.

At the same time, Mr Ryan on the ticket could help Mr Romney become more competitive in Wisconsin, a state Mr Obama won handily four years ago but that could be much tighter this November.

Mr Romney’s campaign is expected to officially confirm the selection later today.

The newly minted Republican ticket will appear together in Norfolk, Virginia, at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the Republican ticket to the nation.

In recent days, conservative pundits have been urging Mr Romney to choose Mr Ryan in large part because of his authorship of a House-backed budget plan that seeks to curb overall entitlement spending and changes government health insurance for the elderly and poor into a voucher-like system to save costs.

On Thursday, Mr Romney fuelled the buzz around Mr Ryan, telling NBC he wanted a vice president with “a vision for the country, that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country”.

Several Republicans took that as an indication that Mr Ryan had shot to the top of a shortlist said to include Ohio Senator Rob Portman and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

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