Romney fires big gun with Ryan pick
August 11th, 2012
01:04 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney fires big gun with Ryan pick

Norfolk, Virginia (CNN) - The battleship was a tip-off in more ways than one.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan descended from the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia Saturday with the campaign equivalent of a call to arms. In the conservative movement, there is arguably no bigger gun than the GOP's presumptive vice presidential nominee.

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The 42-year old Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman, whose persona is equal parts fiscal hawk and Midwestern nice, delivered a message straight out of the Ryan gospel. The dramatic announcement not only won over the estimated 2,500 supporters at the event, but also roused leading conservatives who immediately applauded the choice on social media.

"We won't duck the tough issues. We will lead," Ryan said with the battleship looming over his shoulders. "We won't blame others. We will take responsibility," the Wisconsin congressman added in rhetorical cannon shots at President Obama.

In a sign Romney was steeling for a bold pick weeks ago, a senior campaign adviser tells CNN the GOP contender arrived at his decision on August 1st, the day after he returned from an overseas trip marked by a few headline-grabbing gaffes.

The campaign says Romney made the initial call to Ryan from the office of Beth Myers, the long-time aide who led the candidate's vice presidential search.

"He asked to meet with Ryan in person and they subsequently met and the offer was made," the adviser said speaking on condition of anonymity. A Romney campaign aide says Ryan accepted the offer four days later.

The timing of the decision indicated Romney was well-ahead of conservative pundits in Washington who were clamoring for a dynamic running mate. As a variety of national polls showed Romney trailing the president on Thursday, the groundswell for Ryan or some other "bold" pick had only grown louder.

The selection also came after weeks of attacks from the Obama campaign on Romney's business career at the private investment firm, Bain Capital.

Romney referenced the onslaught on his private sector experience in his remarks introducing Ryan. "And at a time when the President's campaign is taking American politics to new lows, we are going to do things differently," Romney said.

Romney went against his more data-driven and risk-averse instincts with his vice presidential pick. Ryan's blueprint to cut the deficit in Washington, which includes a plan to partially privatize Medicare, will undoubtedly turn off senior citizen voters in Florida.

But in the end, it appears a calculated risk was taken. Ryan's selection will galvanize conservatives in a campaign that may well come down to turnout on Election Day.

One top aide to the GOP contender described the pick as a window into a Romney administration. "This was an important decision about how the governor plans to govern as president," a Romney adviser told CNN.

"A vision for the country on the economy and spending, entitlement reform was an important consideration," the adviser added.

The timing and secrecy surrounding Romney's decision also demonstrated once again the campaign's ability to keep the national news media on its toes. After teasing this weekend's swing state bus tour as a potential vice presidential roll-out, the campaign emailed reporters late Friday night that the selection had been made before the motorcade had even begun.

For weeks, the campaign touted a smart phone application "Mitt's VP" as an instant messaging vehicle for the decision that would allow supporters to hear the news before the press. As it turned out, the app announced the news hours after various news outlets scrambled to find sources that could confirm Ryan had received the nod.

The day was not without its glitches. Due to the rushed set-up for the vice presidential announcement, a security sweep had not finished in time for the major networks, including CNN, to report live on-camera from the event site at 7am as many morning programs were going on the air.

Romney suffered a minor slip up of his own when he mistakenly called on the crowd to "join me in welcoming the next President of the US, Paul Ryan."

As Ryan took the podium, Romney returned to the stage to correct himself.

"Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake. I did not make a mistake with this guy, but I can tell you he's going to be the next VICE president of the US," Romney said.

Back in 2008, at the Democratic ticket's first joint appearance, then-candidate Barack Obama made the same mistake, referring to Joe Biden as "the next president." Biden went on to refer to the young Illinois Senator as "Barack America."

Noticeably absent from the vice presidential kick-off was any signage for the new Romney Ryan ticket, an indicator of just how closely guarded the candidate wanted to keep his pick a secret.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. alien

    Romney fires big gun with ryan pick. Looks like he's shooting blanks.

    August 11, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Romney ,the clown car driver and Ryan ,the hot dog car driver ,Gop going down in Dem landslide in Nov Gop train wreck !!!!!where's your tax returns wimp ,do you think this is going to change the subject . Not!!!!

    August 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Sandy

    "Romney fires big gun" LOL

    August 11, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. chamorrita

    Really the big guns? If you're talking "water pistol". LOL Paul Ryan is a fumbling idiot who can't even write a coherent budget, his numbers don't even ADD up in any shape or form. People need to get a GRIP and realize Paul Ryan is no match, he's has no experience and won't be able to handle the pressure.

    August 11, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. chamorrita

    This is too funny even for words. The GOP comedy hour just gets better every day.... . THANK YOU Mr. Romney!

    August 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Darryl

    Yep Romney & Ryan Both fired big guns ! Straight at Social Security and Medicare and education ! Turn all 3 over to Wallstreet and let them decide who gets what. That's just what this country needs right ? Look out everybody, thats exactly where they want thoese 3 things to go. That's the facts and that's the mission for the Right Wing period. Watch the polls now. They'll rise real fast in President Obamas favor even more so now that Romney defined himself.

    August 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. TIESHA

    i support paul ryan because at least he addresses the issues. Love him or hate him, he doesnt just sweep it under the rug or kick the can down the road

    August 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Two teaparty goof that will never see the white house except from the out side and where's your tax returns romney son of boss tax cheat and Ryan the hot dog car driver.Gop train wreck in Nov Gop clown car and Ryan hot dog car on board !!!

    August 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    "Romney went against his more data-driven and risk-averse instincts with his vice presidential pick."

    Mittens sold his soul a long time ago to Karl Rove and Grover Norquist. No surprise that his picked Munster as his running mate.

    August 11, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Mark Urbo

    Obama said “elections have consequences” to Ryan at the healthcare budget discussions..

    ..they sure do Barry, because now the liberals can kiss fifty-years of failed policies, social engineering and anti-Americanism goodbye due to your megalomaniac, narcissistic, and far left socialist ideology shocking America back to its senses.

    August 11, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. cali girl

    Well everyone, we can all kiss Medicare good bye. These two buffoons, Sheriff of Nothingham and his sidekick Eddie Munster are a worlclass joke. And no offense to Eddie Munster.

    August 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. enuff

    Big gun? I still want to see his taxes. It won't go away no matter how big the hoopla he creates.

    August 11, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Tony

    As soon as seniors understand what is in Ryan's budget plan, Republicans can forget about the White House for the foreseeable future. Republicans just fired their big gun. Romney is the one who got hit.

    August 11, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Smarter than Palin but just as polarizing and caustic. HIs selection will not attract moderate and independent voters.

    August 11, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Donkey Party

    Funny how the insanely ignorant right-wingers call President Obama a "far left socialist", when he's the most centrist President in recent history. Hell, based on his right-wing inspired policies, some would say Obama is one of the best Republican presidents ever. Just goes to show how stupid and gullible the right is.

    August 11, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. drake mallard

    From Draft Dodging to War Mongering Mitt Romney is George W. Bush

    August 11, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. livingston

    Yea, he fired a big gun – unfortunately it was right at his foot. When the first thing you have to do is damage control and try to defend your choice's stand on a hot-button topic like Medicare, well, then you made the wrong choice.

    August 11, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan descended from the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia Saturday◄ even though none of them have ever served in the military and want to continue to start wars!!! SAD!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    August 11, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Unbelievable

    Romney fires big guns!! What are those guns am not aware of!!! Romney has fires to himself. This little young lad has no much difference from Sarah Palin. We have lived longer than this man Paul Ryan. I do not see anything he will come with than cutting our Medicare. We will not allow this to happen. We will not vote for him and he will never reach where Romney wants him to be.

    August 11, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. don in Albuquerque

    And American Spring gets one day closer. Thanks Mitt.

    August 11, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Pete

    I'm glad neither was in the military,they can't shoot straight..Ryan,an Ayn Ryand diciple that speaks volumes on communism,making a two tyre class system a priority,doesn't belief in government ,believes in the haves and have nots..Cutting taxes on the wealthy while increases for the middleclass,cutting education,SocialSecurity cuts,vouchers for Medicare and eventually eliminating Medicaid,that's their maniacal plan.Remember political history, Hoover did it too,so did Reagan and neither trickle down your neck economics plans worked,did it!Republicans always screw up economics 101 miserabily and that's fact.Bush41 ,read my lips no new taxes,then the largest indivigual tax increase ever.Bush 43, oil and business man ,what a joke,two unfunded wars created with lies,unfunded Medicare Part D.Then Democrates with Roosevelt getting us over the Great Depression,Clinton cleaning up Bushs 41 messes and leaving a surplus as a democratic president and last but not least your delushional moron Bush 43 catastrophes being cleaned up by Pres.Obama.We don't need no stinkin republican business men to fix our economy,just one that has a brain and cares for the people of America,something republicans fail to remember or achive,its in their genes.They're total screwups.Romney proved that as governor of Massachusetts and creating a big hole that cost us over 2 billion to fix up the Olympics in Salt Lake,remember that and his ad says he did it under budget,BS!!So remember when you go vote,more Bush BS or someone that cares for the American people,you know Romneys been lying,you think Ryan is any different,I wouldn't trust them with your dead dog,would you!!!

    August 11, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |