Mitt Romney introduces Paul Ryan in Norfolk

Paul Ryan

With the USS Wisconsin serving as the backdrop, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney formally introduced Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate this morning in Norfolk, Virginia, a very crucial battleground state.

Ryan will no doubt be a controversial pick. His budget proposals have been endlessly demagogued by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. However, those same budgets have helped put the House GOP’s focus back on fiscal issues more than wedge social issues.

Over the last four years, President Obama has been unable to piece together a budget that could attract enough support to pass Congress. In fact, when Obama’s budget was brought up for a vote in the House, it was shot down unanimously. The Senate followed in May, rejecting Obama’s budget without a single vote in support.

While Obama’s campaign will no doubt be gunning for Romney’s running mate over his budget proposals — the “Roadmap for America’s Future” and the “Path to Prosperity,” don’t expect Ryan to back down. Ryan has taken on Obama before over fiscal policy, making the President’s rhetoric look cheap in the process.

However, some Republicans are nervous about picking Ryan. According to Politico, some Republicans are “fretting that this could be an intellectual version of Sarah Palin,” comparing the choice to “throwing a long ball.”

Introducing his running mate to the crowd gathered in Norfolk, Romney noted that Ryan doesn’t demonize or get personal in his disagreements with political opponents. He pointed Ryan’s character and values as what guides him along the way. Romney’s remarks did come with a humorous error, introducing Ryan as the “next President of the United States.” After Ryan took the podium, Romney walked back up laughing and said, “Every now and then I’ve been known to make a mistake. But I did not make a mistake. This man will be your next Vice President!”

It’s clear from the remarks made this morning by Ryan, that this Republican ticket is making their case largely on the economy. During his speech this morning in Norfolk, Ryan called the economic recovery under President Obama the “worst…in 70 years.” He explained, “Unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression. Families are hurting.”

“Nearly 1 out of 6 Americans are in poverty—the worst rate in a generation.  Moms and dads are struggling to make ends meet,” said Ryan.  “Household incomes have dropped by more than $4,000 over the past four years. Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure.”

Ryan noted the background of his district, which Janesville, Kenosha, and Racine. He explained that he has “seen and heard from a lot from families, from those running small businesses, and from people who are in need.” But Ryan explained the most concerning part of what he hears from these people are “diminished dreams, lowered expectations, and uncertain futures.”

Ryan also fought back against recent claims that the economy, as it stands now, is the status quo. To that Ryan said, “High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal.  It’s the result of misguided policies.”

Taking a strong shot at comments made by President Obama last month in Roanoke, Virginia — the now-infamous “You Didn’t Build that Line,” Ryan said of Romney, “I’m proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business—you did build that!”

Ryan noted that America isn’t just a country. It’s “an idea.” He went back to the Declaration of Independence to note that our rights “come from nature and God,” emphasizing that our nation was “founded on liberty” and the “consent of the governed.”

On the American Dream, Ryan proclaimed, “We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted.”

Ryan promised that he and Romney “won’t duck the tough issues. We will lead.” He added, “We won’t replace our founding principles. We will reapply them.” He challenged Americans with two questions, or as he called it — “a choice.” He asked, “What kind of country do we want to have? What kind of people do we want to be?”

Ryan closed his remarks, proclaiming, “I’m excited for what lies ahead and I’m thrilled to be a part of America’s Comeback Team. And together, we will unite America and get this done.”

The pick sets up an important discussion that the United States needs to have, but whether or not the discussion will be one where both sides will level with Americans — particularly Obama, who has done nothing but demagogue the economy and long-term liabilities. Ryan has already laid the foundation for reform. With his choice for a running mate, Romney has accepted it, for better or for worse.

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