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. vic , nashville ,tn

    “Paul Ryan heading to Vegas on Tuesday, will be at Sheldon Adelson's”

    Wow meeting with super pac donor to get blessing

    August 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Larry L

    What a pile of crap. Ryan is a career politician who has found a niche as a lap-dog for the rich. He plans to give Social Security to Wall Street and Medicare to HMOs and Insurance Corporations. The rich don't need those programs and Ryan cares nothing about anybody except the rich. He's a perfect match for Romney – a spoiled preppy.

    August 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. rs

    Like Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan is another trust-fund baby. He has no clue (like Romney) about what it is like to be a worker in America today. Workers have lost employer-based insurance and retirement plans, unions are being crushed, minumum wage rules, no raises. Yet Profits for corporations soar.

    Trickle down never worked- what Ryan proposes comes from being massively out-of-touch.

    Romney/Ryan- just say NO.

    August 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Only Job Paul Ryan know is politics, He born in the capital hill, living his life in tax payer money

    August 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. myviewis

    Let's not forget all the odd jobs Ryan had, even driving the hot dog truck. Definitely not traveling through Europe, Pakistan, Indonesia and then to college without ever having to work, not everyone was as priviledged as Obama who truly got to enjoy his life going around the world.

    August 12, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. John

    The Paul Ryan sucks when he first came out, And It till sucks NOW. This Pick that Mitt Romney make will cost him the election. because he just lost all the Middle Class people If he had any way.

    August 12, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. ohreally

    Romney told the people of Massachusetts in 94, " Trust me I paid my taxes in Massachusetts." But then three days before he went before the board to prove he was a resident of the state. He had to amend his taxes and pay to the state, because he in fact did not pay his taxes in the state and only paid in Utah. So yes his taxes are a valid issue.

    August 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. bigbendjc

    Mittens, Mittens, Mittens
    lying about something does not make it true! Also, you required 10 years of tax returns from your VP pick, doesn't the public deserve that much from you?

    August 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. george of the jungle

    another republican lie. How come Vp candidates had to show several years tax returns to the romney campaign.? Show us yours mittens. Tell us about your money in the caymens. Ryan budget will kill medicar and the middle class 1%ers love it so do the tea baggers. That should tell you something. Ryan has been in government so long he never has had to pay for health insurance so what does he know. All his family's health care has been paid on our dime. Even his own church thinks his plan stinks.Talk to the nuns. Forward 2012

    August 12, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Steven Colo

    Um, myviewis, Obama was born t a broke single mother. He's fought more adversity in his life than Romney and Ryan together.

    August 12, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Romney hopes this career politician will distract people from his tax returns. He's hiding the truth about his dishonesty and unethical business practices. Now he picks a guy known as a lap-dog for the rich. Republicans have lost this race...

    August 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Canuck

    Americans who vote for these two, who have demonstrated that they will do nothing for almost all of them if elected, are fools. I don't care for Obama either, but he's definitely the better of these two evils.

    August 12, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. bobden

    Does Willard know anything about Ryan, other than his moronic "budget plan"?
    It doesn't seem that he does. So someone told him that Ryan would be a good choice - help his campaign.

    August 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. myviewis

    Steven Colo

    Um, myviewis, Obama was born t a broke single mother. He's fought more adversity in his life than Romney and Ryan together.

    Wrong, Obama was not born broke to a single mother, mom was married than divorced her husband to marry her second husband. Mother was a doctor working for the bank of Pakistan, Ford Foundation. Grandmother was the Vice President of The Bank of Hawaii making very good money and Obama only went to private schools and never worked.

    August 12, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    My husband and I have are own small business. We pay 30% in taxes as a corporation and ROMNEY pays only 13%! Whats up with that!?
    Oh, show me your past TAXES M.R. and your new side kick R.R.! Mr Side Kick wants to kick the middle class in the Gut again! RYAN been in Washington since he was in his 20's! TOTAL Insider. Never worked an HONEST DAY in his LIFE!

    August 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Tony

    Romney "reluctantly" plans to cut taxes for the rich. Incidentally, the rich are pouring donations into the Romney campaign, knowing that they will more than recoup their investment from Romney's 20% tax cuts. See, the rich are the rich for a reason. They know what they are doing.

    August 12, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Machipongo John

    Ayn Ryan is everything that's wrong about Romney, but on steroids. He has spent his entire career as a flunky for the neo-con oligarchy. It's astonishing that Romney would select this set-in-concrete ideologue if he wants to appeal to anybody but the most reactionary voters.

    Send this clown back to the weeny-mobile.

    August 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. myviewis

    to Steven Colo

    In case you didn't know Dr. Ann Dunham Soetoro was an anthropoligst, she worked for the Ford Foundation, Asian Development Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, Bank Rakyat and is extremely well respected at the University of Hawaii, Duke University and there is the Ann Dunham Soetoro Fellowship which helps fund students. She is well known. Google her, she is very interesting to read on.

    August 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Paulcat

    Just another congressman that got paid just to make sure our seniors and middle class pay for their tax breaks. Now Mitt has someone to help him do just that. This way, he can go another 10 years without paying taxes, we'll just pay it for him.

    August 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. EdMcG

    During the vetting process, the Romney camp required potential picks to provide them with "several" years of tax returns. Romney's requirement for the release of more than 2 years of tax returns should be red meat for Democrats...but in Romney's case, it may just be "do as I say, not as I do. If those returns are needed to pick a potential VP they should be required for a potential president.

    August 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Pander Bear

    Watching Romney trying to paint a career politician as an 'outsider' is only slightly less ludicrous than his trying to portray himself as a 'man of the people', which is far less ludicrous than any of the blather that "myviewis" posts here every day.

    August 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. once upon a horse

    I have to admit I LOVE seeing all the pictures of Ryan with the different facial expressions. Keep up the good photo work CNN.

    August 12, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Wow.. He's such a "reluctant Washingtonian" that he has an undergrad degree in political science? Are you that naive? Sounds like a CAREER choice. What a fool you are, Mitt... This clown might help you with the Red states, but won't help you win the election!!

    August 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Larry L

    Is anybody stupid enough to see Ryan as anything but a lap-dog for the ultra-rich? His budget "vision" is a gift to the rich and places all of the burden on the back of the middle-class. He plans to kill Medicare and Social Security because the rich don't need those programs. He's a radical, Beltway bandit and the darling of the ultra-right-wing. The Republican Party of Goldwater, Reagan and Bush Sr. is dead – replaced with billionaires buying politicians like Romney and Ryan.

    August 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. namryan

    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?

    August 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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