Could Paul Ryan Be Mitt Romney's VP Choice?
The calls are growing louder for the GOP presidential candidate to make a "bold choice" and pick the Wisconsin congressman as his running mate.
If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is at all concerned about winning Wisconsin come November, adding Rep. Paul Ryan to his ticket as his running mate could help.
According to a Public Policy Polling survey last month, Romney's chances of winning the Dairy State go up considerably once Ryan is thrown into the mix.
"One thing that could make the state look like much more of a toss-up is if Romney chooses Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan has a pretty solid favorability rating - 44 percent - and if he was on the ticket ... has the effect of further unifying the GOP base around Romney and also helping to bring some more independent voters into the fold," reads a media alert from the organization.
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The Daily Caller, a conservative news website, cites the PPP polls' use of questions regarding matchups between Romney and President Barack Obama with Romney paired with different potential running mates. Using more than a dozen names, not a single one helps Romney take Wisconsin more than Ryan, increasing Romney's polling by as much as 5 percentage points.
"According to a PPP poll of Wisconsin from early June, Obama outpolls Romney in the state 50 percent to 44 percent. But with Ryan as Romney’s running mate, Obama’s lead narrows to just 1 percentage point," Senior Editor Jamie Weinstein writes.
Other news organizations, like the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, as quoted in a story from jsonline.com, urge Romney to go bold by choosing either Ryan or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
"Go bold, Mitt! Pick Paul Ryan, the Republican party's intellectual leader, the man who's laid out the core of the post-Obama policy agenda and gotten his colleagues in Congress to sign on to it," a recent editorial read.
The Washington Post Insiders writers also think Ryan is a good choice.
"Our nation could benefit from a real debate about the proper role of government, and Paul Ryan's selection makes that more likely," notes Carter Eskew. "Ryan believes the nation will be restored to greatness by massive new tax cuts, drastic cuts in social programs and entitlement reform, but not for the current generation of beneficiaries, and plus hikes in defense spending ... what a debate we could have."
It certainly can't hurt Ryan's chances that he has two fairly influential and well-known Wisconsin Republicans firmly in his corner: Reince Preibus, chair of the Republican National Committee; and Gov. Scott Walker, who will speak at the Republican National Convention at the end of this month.
But some aren't so sure, saying Ryan's hotly debated federal budgets that include cuts to entitlement programs and changes to Medicare make him the more risky choice.
The Atlantic says Romney choosing Ryan would be a mistake because while Ryan is bold, he's also a target.
"Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, and he's used that perch to push for serious changes to the government," writes Associate Editor David A. Graham. "It's that sort of aggressive talk that endears him to ... the conservative base; it also makes him an easy target for the other side, since voters tend to be horrified by deep cuts to entitlements and anything else that entails serious upwards redistribution of wealth."
Last April, odds of Ryan getting the vice presidential nod weren't great; he was sixth on the list behind Rubio and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Governors Chris Christie (New Jersey) and Mitt Daniels (Indiana) and Bob McDonnell (Virginia). Online prediction market, Intrade, today gives Ryan a 12 percent chance.
Whether Ryan even wants the job has been cause for much speculation. Despite repeatedly saying that he will not talk about it because the decision is out of his hands, he did give the Romney campaign materials for the vetting process in June.
There's also the weight of influence to consider; being vice president vs. his current and future roles on House committees.
As noted in The Atlantic story, Ryan is chair of the House Budget Committee, which is a pretty powerful seat even though his term-limit as chair expires at the end of the year. House Republicans could grant him a waiver until 2014, which is when Michigan Rep. Dave Camp's term is up on the Ways and Means Committee, another influential seat that almost certainly wields more power than being vice president.