POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/13
Mitt Romney “appears to have picked Paul Ryan as his running mate over the objections of top political advisors, offering a glimpse into the Republican nominee in the most important decision of his campaign,” Ben Smith reports.
“Romney’s aides have stressed publicly in the 24 hours since Romney electrified conservatives with his choice that the pick was the governor’s alone. They have been less forthcoming on the flip side: That much of his staff opposed the choice for the same reason that many pundits considered it unlikely — that Ryan’s appealingly wonky public image and a personality Romney finds copasetic will matter far less than two different budget plans whose details the campaign now effectively owns.”
Said one top Republican: “Everybody was against [Ryan] to start with only Romney for.”
Paul Begala: “In selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has doubled-down on the one thing he has never flip-flopped on: economic elitism.”
The AARP compiles some interesting trivia about the GOP vice presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast puts together “7 fun facts” about Ryan.
Rep. Paul Ryan, the architect of the budget plan “that makes big changes to Medicare and Medicaid and could allow for some privatization of Social Security,” could hurt the GOP presidential ticket in Florida, the Miami Herald reports.
“Ryan might have another Florida problem: He once opposed the U.S. embargo on Cuba, a now-reversed stance that concerns some in Miami-Dade’s exile community, which is overwhelmingly Republican and had hoped that one of its own, Sen. Marco Rubio, would have been picked as Romney’s running mate. The county’s elderly Cuban population also relies heavily on government assistance, particularly Medicare.”
Maggie Haberman: “It appears as Ryan’s appearance in the state alongside Romney, planned for tomorrow, was redirected to Iowa.”
Daily Beast: Be afraid seniors. How the Ryan pick changes the campaign.
Politico has an interesting background piece on Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) which includes an anecdote showing his “keen sense of how his status had changed once he won his first election to the House in 1998.”
A reporter he knew from his days as a congressional aide approached him to wish him well.
“Congratulations, Paul,” said the reporter, who was several years older than Ryan.
“It’s Mr. Ryan, now,” he replied.
Ron Brownstein: “Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate could deepen the intrinsic tension between the Republican policy agenda and the voters it relies on to win elections.”
“Ryan’s ambitious budget blueprint, as passed twice by House Republicans over the past two years, crystallizes the GOP’s highest policy priority: shrinking the size of the federal government, largely by dramatically restructuring entitlement programs led by Medicare and Medicaid. But the GOP today is increasingly dependent on the votes of older and blue-collar whites who — while eager to scale back government programs that transfer income to the poor — are much more resistant to retrenching entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security that largely benefit the middle-class.”
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) scored a decisive victory over former Rep. Ed Case (D) in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, 57% to 41%, and will now move toward a November showdown with former Gov. Linda Lingle (R), the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.
Maggie Haberman posts a video of Rep. Paul Ryan addressing the Ripon Society in March 2010 in which he called President Obama’s agenda as “Bismarckian” and said he and congressional Democrats had a vision that was “antithetic to the vision of America.”
“Some of his toughest barbs come toward the end of the clip, when he talks about the taxpayer burden from Obamacare and what it would mean to the nation. The whole thing is worth a watch, and it underscores why the election is now a clear choice on governing philosophies.”
ABC News reports on how Mitt Romney’s campaign and Paul Ryan “appear to have employed an elaborate cloak and dagger operation to spirit Ryan and his family, under the noses of reporters staking out the Wisconsin Congressman’s house in Janesville, undetected to Norfolk for Saturday’s announcement.”
“Ryan was spotted by reporters in his driveway when he came home after the funeral Sikh memorial service for those killed in a tragic shooting in his district last week. Ryan went to his side door near his garage and was locked out. He said he had left his keys in a staffer’s truck. He then said he thought his wife was not home. Ryan looked for a way in and a reporter shouted, ‘Don’t you want to show us where you hide a key under the door mat?’ He laughed and said he knew another way and went into his backyard. This is the last time reporters saw him in Janesville on Friday.”
“How he eluded the press and popped up in Norfolk, Virginia, remains something of a mystery. In the next three hours, he presumably snuck out of his house or had never entered, sneaking instead out the backyard.”
Alec MacGillis: “Already, there is a curious bit of conventional wisdom taking hold that Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan is shrewd because it will draw attention from Romney’s ever-more apparent weaknesses, notably the more rapacious elements of his work at Bain Capital and his undisclosed tax returns. Sorry, but this makes no sense. It seems hard to imagine a running mate who would jibe better with the Democrats’ Bain Capital attacks than a well-born Ayn Rand acolyte. More crucially, it is hard to imagine a running mate who will draw more attention to the matter of Romney’s taxes than Paul Ryan. Why? Because under the ‘Ryan plan’ that made the congressman famous, Mitt Romney would pay zero taxes.”
“Don’t believe it? Romney himself said so, just a few months ago.”
Matthew Ryan: “Under Paul Ryan’s plan, Mitt Romney wouldn’t pay any taxes for the next ten years — or any of the years after that. Now, do I know that that’s true. Yes, I’m certain.”
We’ll soon see a significant amount of polling on Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate, but for now, we have a Democracy Corps survey conducted last month. It’s conclusion was stunning:
“At the outset, the Ryan budget (described in Ryan’s actual language) barely garners majority support. And voters raise serious doubts when they hear about proposed cuts — particularly to Medicare, education, and children of the working poor. President Obama’s lead against Romney more than doubles when the election is framed as a choice between the two candidates’ positions on the Ryan budget — particularly its impact on the most vulnerable. The President makes significant gains among key groups, including independents and voters in the Rising American Electorate (the unmarried women, youth, and minority voters who drove Obama to victory in 2008).”
John Heilemann: “This was why Chicago was planning to hang the Ryan budget around Romney’s neck regardless of whether the congressman was on the ticket or not. Obama’s data jockeys have been polling and focus-grouping on this for months, and they are over the moon about what they have found.”
Wonk Wire looks at Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) legislative record.
Nate Silver digs into Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) congressional voting record and notes “the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the controversial congresswoman of Minnesota.”
“By this measure, in fact, which rates members of the House and Senate throughout different time periods on a common ideology scale, Mr. Ryan is the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for the vice presidential slot since at least 1900. He is also more conservative than any Democratic nominee was liberal, meaning that is is the furthest from the center. (The statistic does not provide scores for governors and other vice presidential nominees who never served in Congress.)”
Jonathan Cohn argues that Ryan’s “carefully cultivated image as a wonk hero… helps to insulate him, and his ideas, from the charge that he’s proposing what would amount to the most radical revision of governing priorities in our lifetime.”
Domenico Montanaro: “For more than a year, President Obama has been trying to run against Paul Ryan and House Republicans. And now — with Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate — he is.”
“It started in April of last year when the president invited the Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman to hear his speech at George Washington University here in Washington on fiscal policy. Asking Ryan to be there might have seemed like a gesture of good will toward Ryan, who had just weeks earlier unveiled his controversial budget.”
“Instead, sitting in the front row, Ryan listened as his plan — and by extension Ryan himself — was eviscerated by the president of the United States.”
Walter Shapiro: “If nothing else, putting Paul Ryan on the ticket guarantees that the October 11 vice-presidential debate will be destination television viewing. And however the politics sort themselves out, the 2012 presidential election has suddenly become interesting as well as merely important.”
John Avlon: “Paul Ryan is a bold and risky pick for vice president by Mitt Romney. Forget all the talk about the risk-averse Mitt Romney and his policy-free campaign. Romney just embraced a man whose deficit reduction plans are impressively specific — and controversial. This is what a game-changer looks like post-Sarah Palin.”
Nate Silver: “Taking risks like these is not what you do if you think you have a winning hand already. But Mr. Romney, the turnaround artist, decided that he needed to turn around his own campaign.”
Steve Kornacki: “To say this is politically risky is an understatement… There are endless reasons to doubt this will work. The toxicity of the Ryan budget has been tested (on a small-scale, granted) before, and the results weren’t good for the GOP. Which is why, more than anything else, this is a huge risk for Romney – a risk he wouldn’t be taking if this summer hadn’t gone so poorly for him.”
Ryan Lizza: “But the good thing about the Ryan pick is that the Presidential campaign will instantly turn into a very clear choice between two distinct ideologies that genuinely reflect the core beliefs of the two parties. And in that sense, Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan is good news for voters.”
National Journal: “Whether it’s true or not, senior advisers to President Obama’s re-election campaign believed, long before presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, that Romney had been oddly and helpfully ‘collaborative’ in making the Obama case against him… From team Obama’s perspective, the Ryan choice transforms this imagined and perceived collaboration into a virtual partnership.”
Said one Obama strategist: “It plays right into it. Romney believes in cutting taxes for the wealthy and making the middle class pay for them. Ryan not only believes it, but he’s actually done it. It’s Romney’s agenda in action.”
“Obama aides had been convinced that Romney would settle on former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty… But they now believe Romney has used his biggest choice of the campaign to drive home their central indictment of his candidacy and his policies — that they pose a threat to middle-class livelihoods and aspirations.”
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will take a detour from their four-state bus tour and fly to Wisconsin on Sunday night for a rally in Ryan’s home state, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinelreports.
Noam Scheiber: “So, to review, the key recent development is that Romney is poised to lose a race he should by all rights be winning, and conservatives are poised to blame this loss on his ideological moderation… Against this backdrop, the rationale for the Ryan pick strikes me as pretty clear: Ryan is the way Romney and his aides escape blame for their now-likely defeat — blame which would have vicious and unrelenting — and pin it in on conservatives instead. With only minor historical revisions, they will be able to tell a story about how Romney was keeping the race close through early August, at which point the party’s conservative darling joined the ticket and sent the poll numbers into steady decline.”
“According to this narrative, the campaign will merely be guilty of a political misdemeanor — being bullied by conservatives into a lousy running mate — not the felony of strategically miscalculating against a historically weak incumbent (which is where the existing storyline was headed). That’s a plea bargain any right-minded politico would take, even if they didn’t consciously consider it in those terms.”
The Washington Post reports Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) can appear on the ballot “as both a candidate for the House and for vice president. If the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket is not successful, but he wins his congressional race, Ryan can keep his seat. If the national ticket wins the White House and Ryan holds his House seat, a special election would be held to replace him in the House.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics