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Paul Ryan 2016: 8 Facts About Political Background of GOP Presidential Hopeful

Image: Paul Ryan 2016: 8 Facts About Political Background of GOP Presidential Hopeful
In this 2012 file photo, official portrait of Congressman Paul Ryan. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:59 PM

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has already been close to the White House once as a vice presidential nominee. While the Tea Party favorite weighs whether to run for the top position in 2016, here are eight details about Ryan’s political background.

1. Ryan got his start in politics as a student, serving as class president and joining the Model United Nations team. He took an internship in Wisconsin Sen. Bob Kasten’s office and volunteered for House Speaker John Boehner’s campaign. Though he rejected her atheistic views, Ryan was inspired by Ayn Rand and credits her work for inspiring his passion for economics.

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2. After college, Ryan served as a staff economist in Kasten’s office until Kasten lost his bid for re-election. Ryan then became a speechwriter for a conservative advocacy group and for vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, later joining then-Kansas Sen.Sam Brownback’s team.

3. In 1998, Ryan won a seat in Congress. He has been elected for eight more consecutive terms. Ryan has always earned at least 55 percent of the vote, with his most recent election in 2012 the closest to date while he simultaneously ran for vice president.

4. As a congressman, Ryan is best known for his aggressively conservative stance on the budget. He’s chairman of the House Budget Committee and serves on the Ways and Means Committee. Ryan drafted his own budget plan that he claims is aimed at reducing the federal deficit, with a call for collapsing the tax code into two rates, privatizing portions of Social Security and Medicare, increasing defense spending, and repealing Obamacare.

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5.
Despite his reputation as a deficit hawk, critics argue that some of Ryan’s most high-profile votes paint a different picture. He pushed to extend and expand former President George W. Bush’s tax credits without balancing those cuts elsewhere. He supported bailouts of the auto industry and Wall Street, expanded drug benefits for Medicare, and other policies that helped balloon the deficit.

6. In 2012, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney chose Ryan as his running mate. Ryan’s performance during the campaign was generally well received by his party, as he pledged to help repeal Obamacare, create millions of new jobs, and push his budget plan. Romney and Ryan lost with 47 percent of the vote, with Ryan still winning his seat in Congress.

7. Statistician Nate Silver identified Ryan as the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for vice-presidential candidate since 1900. Along with his fiscal policies, Ryan has taken aggressive stances against issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and gun control.

8. Despite generally high approval ratings, it’s unclear whether Ryan plans to run in 2016. He told the National Journal he won’t be in Congress 10 years from now, indicating he’s not interested in spending his entire adult life in electoral politics. He’s also said he wouldn’t run against Romney.

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Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has already been close to the White House once as a vice presidential nominee. While the Tea Party favorite weighs whether to run for the top position in 2016, here are eight details about Ryan's political background.
paul ryan, 2016, political, background, facts
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2015-59-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:59 PM
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