Political strategist Karl Rove says President Barack Obama's campaign is worried about vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's ability to peel away traditional Democratic voters, given his strong re-election showings in a blue-collar Wisconsin congressional district with deep union roots.
His ability to talk simply about complicated issues such as Medicare and the federal debt also digs into the president's comfort level, Rove told Fox News' Neil Cavuto Wednesday.
"Paul Ryan gets under the president's skin because Paul does his homework, he is incredibly knowledgeable about these issues, and he can speak directly and respectful, and yet make his case," Rove said.
"Remember, this guy is from a swing district in Wisconsin that Bill Clinton carried twice, Al Gore carried, and Barack Obama carried. In his first election, he won with 57 percent of the vote." he said. "And in Ryan's re-elections, he has gotten between 62 percent and 68 percent of the vote in a blue-collar. middle-class district with a lot of union workers."
The reason he's been elected to seven terms in the House, Roved continued, is because Ryan has been going "out there" for the "better part of a decade" and taking on "the big issues of deficit, debt, spending, and entitlement reform."
But Rove said Ryan is facing a tougher challenge now as the Republican vice presidential nominee and "has to be reassuring" to both older and younger voters as he and presidential candidate Mitt Romney make their appeal for less government spending, beginning with changes to the Medicare program.
Rove, a Fox News contributor and founder of the super PAC Crossroads GPS, said the Romney-Ryan ticket would have to be reassuring as well as they talk about their plan for economic growth.
"We need a team of optimism and a belief in America," he said. "Mitt Romney has that belief in an American exceptionalism and in the American dream."
Rove was also asked by Cavuto about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech to the GOP convention in Tampa Tuesday.
Christie has been criticized for not delivering what Cavuto referred to as a "red meat" address to the delegates and not talking enough about the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Rove, however, defended Christie's speech, saying it was perfect in tone for the independent and undecided voters who may have been tuning in to the convention coverage.
"Look, Chris Christie's tone was absolutely right for the key audience, which is not the people in this room who are already totally committed to this ticket, but instead the people who are watching and trying to figure it out," Rove said. "And he had the right tone."
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