It certainly energized Romney who followed up his announcement Saturday by speaking with more passion than I can remember him showing. Clearly, the two men like each other; they are on the same page and enjoy campaigning together, firing up the crowds and being fired up by them.
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell set the stage for the crowd at Norfolk when he said of President Obama’s failure to right the economy, promote job creation and cut the national debt: “If you walk into an employer and you’ve got that kind of record, there’s only two words that come to mind: you’re fired!” The polls reflect Obama’s problem: his disapproval rate – 50 percent in Gallup’s poll and 54 percent in Rasmussen’s.
Romney’s selection of Ryan was seen as a bold move that sets up a clear choice for voters. The New York Times said: “The decision instantly made the campaign seem bigger and more consequential, with the size and role of the federal government squarely at the center of the debate …. For Mr. Romney, the decision is one of the boldest moves of his presidential candidacy, which has been guided by a do-no-harm strategy. It promised to energize conservatives….”
The Washington Post said: “A Romney-Ryan ticket will help to clarify the choices for voters in November. Rarely have the two parties presented such a stark contrast in visions as now appears to be the case. Those competing visions could produce, after a summer of often small-minded tactics, the kind of big debate about the country’s future that both Obama and Romney have said this campaign should be about.”
The Washington Times: “Mitt Romney has proved everyone wrong. The common wisdom was the presumptive Republican nominee for president was going to make a safe pick, going with an old Washington hand from an important swing state for vice president. By tapping 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, Mr. Romney shows that he is taking the fight into blue states deep in the heart of territory Barak Obama won four years ago. This is the strategy of a winner.” The Times added: “Choosing Mr. Ryan….telegraphs one message about the autumn campaign loud and clear to President Obama: it is about the economy stupid, and you won’t be able to hide from the issues.”
The biggest challenge for the GOP ticket will be explaining Ryan’s budget plan that would change Medicare a decade in the future. It would not affect anyone 55 or older but in 2022 people turning 65 would go on a voucher system with an estimated $15,000 a year to help buy health insurance from private insurers instead of relying on Medicare. Medicaid would be converted into federal grants to states for indigent health care. That triggers the old “Medi-scare” tactics.
Ryan said in Norfolk, “We won’t duck tough issues.”
This presidential campaign is going to be a real shootout.