WASHINGTON, Aug 11, 2012 (AFP) – Republican leaders in the House and Senate including failed 2008 nominee John McCain hailed White House hopeful Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday, saying it showed decisive leadership.
“Quite simply, Mitt Romney could not have made a finer choice for the future direction of our country,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement after Romney and Ryan appeared together in Norfolk, Virginia to announce the Republican ticket in the race to unseat President Barack Obama.
Romney’s decision to pick Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin whose budget plan, endorsed by Romney, “underscores the kind of bold vision and leadership we need — and we will get — from a Romney administration.”
Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee who lost to Obama in 2008, also praised Romney for the choice, saying he and Ryan “are the strongest team to return America to prosperity and to defend our interests abroad.”
“Paul Ryan has proven that he is fully prepared to address our nation’s economic challenges, which have only worsened over the last four years under the Obama-Biden administration,” said the senior senator from Arizona.
McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin, the virtually unknown governor of Alaska, was initially seen as a sound move in energizing conservatives but it quickly unraveled when she appeared ill-prepared for the role of vice president.
Palin made a series of gaffes and seemed unversed in foreign policy and she was eventually seen as a factor in McCain losing the election.
Romney, undoubtedly mindful of that setback, spent months searching for the right running mate for the November 6 election, and in Ryan he opted for bold rather than a safer pick such as Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.
“Paul Ryan is a reformer and a proven leader who will be a great partner to governor Romney in his efforts to get our country, and our economy, back on track,” said House Speaker John Boehner.
The choice carries huge political risk, as Ryan is architect of a controversial budget plan that slashes federal spending and overhauls cherished entitlements such as Medicare, while lowering US taxes.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has long-berated Obama for failing to confront economic crisis under his watch, said a Romney-Ryan team would help “reverse the damage of the Obama economy.”
“Paul Ryan is an excellent choice, and a confirmation that governor Romney is serious about strengthening America’s economic future, tackling the deficits and debt that have skyrocketed under President Obama, and returning to a path to solvency and security.”
As the Romney/Ryan team rolled out on a four-day bus tour across key battleground states Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, some of Ryan’s rivals for the VP slot fell into line behind the new running mate.
“The Romney-Ryan team is uniquely positioned to make the tough choices necessary to confront our fiscal challenges and get results,” said Chris Christie, the occasionally bombastic New Jersey governor.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, another possible VP choice, hailed Ryan as a intellectual heavyweight who “has the courage of his convictions, which is what our nation needs.”
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