Mitt Romney has picked Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, the Romney campaign confirmed on Saturday.
"Mitt's choice for VP is Paul Ryan. Spread the word about America's comeback team," a Romney campaign app said, confirming widespread reports he had selected the 42-year-old Wisconsin lawmaker who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee.
Romney was expected to introduce Ryan at the retired battleship USS Wisconsin — named for Ryan's home state — in Norfolk, Va,, at about 9 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, a Republican official who asked not to be identified said late Friday.
As promised by the campaign, the announcement went out on a Romney app for smart phones at 7 a.m. on Saturday. ""Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan," it said. By then, though the news had already spread.
The announcement will mark the end a months-long search by Romney for a running mate to join him in facing Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Nov. 6 election.
Ryan's confirmation was immediately greeted by conservatives. Fox News contributor Dick Morris said he has a "staggering intellect" which would put him in stark contrast to Biden.
"He is one of the most truthful politicians there is," Morris sid on "Fox and Friends. "This guy says what he thinks, he doesn't lie. He doesn't prevaricate."
Morris described Ryan as "obsessed" with the national debt, an issue that his selection will put front and center in the final three months of the campaign.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee described Ryan as "a boost" for Romney's campaign.
"Ryan is a bold choice but not a ridiculously bold choice," he said. "There is no such thing as a perfect pick but he is a very substantive pick."
Huckabee said Ryan will boost Romney's credentials among conservatives with his positions opposing gay marriage and abortion.
He said that the plan will be for Romney to attack Obama's future, while Ryan will "dissect his past."
Huckabee also said there is a good chemistry between Romney and his selection. "Paul Ryan looks like Mitt Romney's sixth son," he said.
Romney starts a bus tour on Saturday through four politically divided states that he needs to win in November: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.
Conservative leaders, increasingly anxious over the state of Romney's campaign, had urged him to pass over reliable — but not particularly inspiring — figures such as Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and instead go for Ryan.
The Wisconsin congressman is a favorite of the conservative tea party, an anti-tax, limited-government movement that helped Republicans take over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010.
But Ryan's selection immediately draws attention to a budget plan he proposed as House budget chairman that would include controversial cuts in government health programs for the elderly and poor.
Democrats are eager to pounce on that issue — particularly in Florida, where many seniors live and which could be a crucial state in the November election. Ryan's selection makes the Florida leg of Romney's bus tour an instant test for the new ticket.
Before the announcement, the Romney team issued a press release confirming Ryan's selection and giving a detailed biography of the man Republicans hope will be the next vice president.
"Representative Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on January 29, 1970," the release stated. "A fifth-generation Wisconsin native, Ryan was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom.
"In April 2000, Ryan proposed to Janna Little, a native Oklahoman, at one of his favorite fishing spots, Big St. Germain Lake in Wisconsin. Later that year, the two were married in Oklahoma City.
"The Ryans reside in Janesville with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam," the release continued. "The family are parishioners at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
"Upon entering Congress in January of 1999, Ryan was the youngest member of the freshmen class at the age of 28. Prior to running for Congress, Ryan served as an aide to Republican Senators Robert Kasten Jr. and Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. and Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp, and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned degrees in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a member is of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen."
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