Romney chooses Paul Ryan as GOP running mate (JERUSALEM POST) By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, GIL HOFFMAN 08/12/12)
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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan, a
Wisconsin Republican who shot to national prominence with a plan to
sharply reduce government spending, as his running mate on Saturday.
“With energy and vision, Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader
of the Republican Party,” Romney said in announcing his choice at a
Virginian campaign stop held at the battleship USS Wisconsin.
“He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding
deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits
us if we don’t change course.”
Romney added, “He has never been content to simply curse the
darkness; he would rather light candles.” Romney described Ryan’s
difficult loss of his father at a young age and the strength his
family found to persevere.
The former Massachusetts governor noted that as “a faithful Catholic,
Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life.”
Ryan in his remarks also touched on his optimism and faith.
“America is more than just a place – it’s an idea. It’s the only
country founded on an idea,” he said. “Our rights come from nature
and God, not government.
We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.”
He continued, “We can turn this thing around. Real solutions can be
delivered. But, it will take leadership.
And the courage to tell you the truth.”
Ryan came to Israel in 2005 as part of a large Republican
Congressional delegation hosted by the American Israel Education
Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee.
He met with a wide array of Israeli political leaders, including
thenprime minister Ariel Sharon, and visited strategic sites in
Jerusalem and on the borders with Syria and Lebanon.
An official who took part in the visit said Ryan gave an impression
that he is a good friend of Israel.
Republicans Abroad in Israel cochairman Kory Bardash, who had
breakfast with Ryan at a Republican summit in Park City, Utah, in
June, called him “very enthusiastically pro-Israel and a
political “superstar.” Bardash said Ryan was impressed when he told
him that he knew many immigrants to Israel from Wisconsin who would
be voting in the US election.
“He was very excited to know that I came to the summit from Israel,
and he was very supportive of our organization’s efforts,” Bardash
said. “He has co-sponsored pro-Israel legislation, he is very strong
against pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians,
and he is very critical of Hamas, which he called ‘an Islamic
terrorist organization.’” Bardash called Ryan one of the most
knowledgeable people in Congress on the US federal budget.
“It says a lot about Romney that instead of playing an easy,
defensive campaign by choosing someone else, he rolled up his sleeves
and took a hands-on approach to tackle the key issue in the race,
which is the economy,” Bardash said.
Ryan, who chairs the US House Budget Committee, is seen as
potentially vulnerable on the issue of entitlement spending,
particularly Medicare. His plan calls for broad reform on the popular
program that subsidizes the healthcare of senior citizens – a key
voting bloc. Republicans have sought to present his plan as an act of
But it was an issue that Democrats immediately jumped on to criticize
“His very vocal, very welldefined record on healthcare and
particularly as relates to seniors and to women is antithetical to
almost what the entire Jewish community thinks, and this gets America
nowhere with Jews,” said Democratic media strategist Steve Rabinowitz.
He particularly pointed to the elderly Jewish population in Florida
and parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, all crucial swing states.
Rabinowitz, who called Ryan a “classic ultra-conservative on Israel,”
added that the pick was likely to energize the base but not affect
“This is not a game-changing choice,” he said.
But Jeff Berkowitz, a Republican strategist and White House Jewish
liaison under George W. Bush, argued that Ryan’s fiscal policies
won’t be a handicap.
Instead, he said Jewish voters are concerned that “you spend within
your means, and Paul Ryan understands how to balance the budget
without impacting programs that government provides for those who
need a safety net.”
He stressed that for Jewish voters, “I think it’s going to make them
much more comfortable voting for Romney. Ryan is a serious,
According to Berkowitz, Ryan’s interest in reining in spending
doesn’t mean he wants to cut aid to Israel.
“He would never let that impact the support we give our friend and
Ryan, 42, was chosen over other top Republican names including New
Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen.
Marco Rubio, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota governor Tim
Romney’s chief VP vetter, Beth Myers, told CNN that the presumptive
Republican presidential nominee had conducted a thorough and
deliberative process before making his choice earlier this month.
She said that Romney’s number one consideration was “that the person
is qualified to be president.”
Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, ran
into trouble for not thoroughly vetting former Alaska governor Sarah
Palin before choosing her as his running mate, and the Romney team
seemed keen to avoid a similar situation.
Ryan joined Romney at a campaign stop in North Carolina on Saturday
afternoon and should be a fixture on the campaign trail for the two
weeks leading to the Republican National Convention in Tampa,
Florida. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 08/12/12)
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