Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, hit the campaign trail Monday. Our Nick Reisman has more on Ryan and his political resume.
UNITED STATES -- The nation was introduced to Paul Ryan nearly two years ago as a controversial budget maker who plans to overhaul Medicare. But with Mitt Romney's image as a wealthy businessman from Boston seen as a negative, Ryan's small town beginnings could work well for the GOP presidential ticket.
“I think one of the reasons why he got picked is because he's the man with a plan, one of several very detailed plans about to deal with the fiscal issues. So maybe they will spin him a little more as a hometown guy, an All-American guy from the middle of America. Mitt Romney certainly doesn't fit that profile,” said Scott Angus, Janesville Gazette editor.
Born into a well-known local family and elected before the age of 30 in 1998, Ryan was first an aide and speechwriter in Washington, D.C. and quickly established himself as an affable policy wonk.
“He wasn't well known until he came back into the district at the age of 27 and ran for Congress, but he made himself known very quickly because he's a great politician,” said Angus.
Ryan is also a steadfast opponent of discretionary spending known as earmarks, though local officials say that hasn't hurt him.
“What I would say he does do on the other side is Congressman Ryan's office works very hard on programs that have already been authorized, working with agencies and working on behalf of the city and finding other ways that can be helpful,” said Eric Levitt, Janesville City Manager.
And it is Ryan's very vocal supporters who say his appeal as a local Congressman and family man in this conservative Republican district will translate well nationwide.