Romney paints Ryan as reluctant Washingtonian - though Ryan spent career in nation's capital
August 12th, 2012
11:59 AM ET
8 years ago

Romney paints Ryan as reluctant Washingtonian - though Ryan spent career in nation's capital

Mooresville, North Carolina (CNN) – On Sunday Mitt Romney painted his new running mate, a seven-term congressman elected at age 28, as a reluctant Washingtonian who put aside his personal ambitions to serve his country.

Ryan's biography, however, paints a different picture of the vice presidential candidate's career.

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"His career ambition was not to go to Washington. That is not what he wanted to do," Romney said of Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee. "But he became concerned about what was happening in the country and wanted to get America back on track, and so he put aside the plans he had for his career and said 'I'm going to go and serve.'"

Ryan's career trajectory points to a slightly different version of the candidate's life than Romney offered. After graduating from Miami University of Ohio in 1992, Ryan went to work in Washington as an aide to Sen. Robert Kasten of Wisconsin, whose office he interned in during college.

Ryan also served as a speechwriter for Rep. Jack Kemp early in his career, and worked as a staff member for Empower America, a conservative political group that merged with FreedomWorks in 2004. Ryan was Sen. Sam Brownback's legislative director from 1995-1997. He was elected to Congress in 1998.

During his early years in Washington, Ryan moonlighted as a fitness trainer and a waiter at Washington restaurants.

On Sunday, Romney lauded Ryan for his ability to "work across the aisle" in Washington and would help change the divisive tone in the nation's capital.

The newly-minted Republican ticket of Romney and Ryan were speaking to a rowdy and supportive audience of 1,700 people at a NASCAR auto training facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, the day after Ryan's name was announced. The campaign said thousands more people were not allowed into the event by a fire marshal, and those supporters gathered outside.

Last week a top campaign adviser told reporters many Americans were just tuning into the presidential race, and signaled the campaign would increase its efforts to introduce Romney – and now presumably his chosen number two – to voters in the run-up to their party's convention in last August.

Ryan also sought to present a softer side of Romney in his remarks, saying the presumptive presidential nominee had led "a life of raising a wonderful family."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Obama Mama

    Romney just lost the senior citizen vote. An attack on our seniors is an attack on American middle class.

    August 12, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Ryan was pro Iraq war , he didn't care about the cost in lives or money at the time.

    Now he is all about the budget , and fiscal conservatism ?

    Were can I buy a used hot dog mobile ?

    August 12, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. drake mallard

    Who cares what RYAN ever did in the past, as long as he has that (R) next to his name right?

    what's happening to Romney is the American People are seeing what this man is all about. He is known for being a coward, ran to France under the guise of his church. In many circles he is a good business man, in others he is a man who broke other men down by closing their companies, these men lost their insurance, lost their pensions and lost their income, to top it off the govt. had to step in with millions to save their retirement income they worked for so many years to save and he keeps his money offshore and won't admit to what he's playing in taxes. Total CON ARTIST!!!!

    Anyone in their right mind can't vote Romney.

    He's a flat out liar, never have I heard or seen so many flip-flops..

    George Romney resisted releasing a single year of taxes, arguing that it wouldn't present an accurate picture...but then he made a surprising offer: He would release the past 12 years of tax returns...That way, it wouldn't look like a stunt

    August 12, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Obama Mama

    The wealthy and republicans bring us to our knees and then say we are starting "class warfare", what a crock. Washington steals all the money out of Social Security and then says it is

    August 12, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Ursla

    The 2012 GOP ticket of Romney-HOOD/Ryan-HOOD is going to turn into alexithymic Mitt's "PALIN PROBLEM".

    August 12, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Obama Mama

    Raise your hand if you want to bail the republicans out in 2016.

    August 12, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Jeff in San Diego

    Ryan is the son of a wealthy construction company family. He used his father's Social Security money to go to college after he passed away. He spent his entire career in politics and now we are supposed to believe that he is somehow a Washington outsider? A self-made man of the world? He is a perfect fit for Romney, they are both spoiled children who are absolute phonies.

    August 12, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. w l jones

    Strange ! strange indeed all of a certian a policy expert have came out the wood work beginning wonderwhat they been durning for a dozen years in office...again strange.

    August 12, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. myviewis


    I wonder in which world Myviewis lives... Do you understant thatMr. Ryan is the heir of a building company. He worked those job, true, but his back was covered by the wealth of his family! Mr. Obama, instead, came from a poor family! Suggestion: watch something else besides FOX nes and coming here ranting and blabbering... oh wait, maybe you're paid for it... are you a troll?

    Have you ever bothered to read on Dr. Ann Dunham Soetoro at the University of Hawaii?? No, Obama did not come from a poor family. If not University of Hawaii, try Duke University or google Obama's mother. If anything they should do a movie on her life, she was very successful, smart and hard working and she was not poor nor her parents, her mother accomplished a lot in those days by becoming the Vice President of The Bank of Hawaii making very good money and supporting her husband as he worked as a salesman, back on those days women did not easily become Vice President of a bank nor made the good money that she made. Obama went only to private schools and attended an extremely expensive school in Hawaii and graduated from it thanks to his mom and grandmother making good money. Both women were very accomplished and gave Obama a very good life and he didn't have to worry about finances.

    August 12, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Obama Mama

    Ryan is going to meet the godfather and put Social Security on the crap table.

    August 12, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Obama Mama

    Seven year term, time for this one to go home and get a job.

    August 12, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Obama Mama

    Wheres the tax returns Romney????????? Son of Boss, fits in with godfather Adelson. I say don't tax the people tax the cassinos. wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    August 12, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. yeah right

    Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney both support trillions in budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires that will result in tax hikes on the middle class and deep cuts in education and other investments we need to grow. Ryan’s extreme budget plan, which Mitt Romney has embraced, would make deep spending cuts now to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, which would weaken the recovery and cost the economy jobs.

    August 12, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. PJ

    Romney lauded Ryan for his ability to "work across the aisle".
    If you 'work across the aisle', you compromise.
    Romney endorsed Mourdock, the guy who said compromise is when the Democrats agree with the Republicans.
    Is that the kind of "work across the aisle" he means? The Tea Party doesn't believe in compromise.

    August 12, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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