Updated: August 13, 2012 12:16PM
WASHINGTON--It’s official — it’s the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Mitt Romney’s campaign on Saturday morning announced Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his vice presidential running mate, calling the new ticket “America’s comeback team.”
The campaign confirmed Ryan, of Janesville, Wis., leaked late Friday night in a press release in advance of the first appearance of the new ticket at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk, Va. — in front of the USS Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is a battleground state where President Barack Obama is running ahead according to pols released by multiple outlets late this week.
The two men basked in the cheers of supporters in the ticket’s made-for-television debut. “I did not make a mistake with this guy,” Romney exulted.
“I am deeply excited and honored to join you as your running mate,” Ryan, 42, said in his first words at the podium.” He said that together, “we will restore the greatness of this country.”
“Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution” to an economy that has yet to make a strong recovery from the worst recession in decades, said Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman
In the campaign to come, Republicans will present economic solutions “that are bold, specific and achievable,” Romney said as he presented his political partner to cheering supporters. “We offer our commitment to create 12 million new jobs and bring better take home pay to middle class families.”
But Ryan’s proposed revamping of Medicare will make him a ripe Democratic target — and a harder appeal to win over potential cross-over Democrats.
On Saturday, Obama’s campaign said Romney’s selection of Ryan shows a commitment to “budget-busting tax cuts” for the wealthy and “greater burdens” on the middle class and seniors. The Republican ticket, the campaign said, would return the nation to “reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy.”
And Obama campaign manager Jim Messina described Ryan as the “architect of the radical Republican House budget” proposal and said the plan “would end Medicare as we know it.”
Romney did not make the safest pick — selecting a running mate who is to his right. But Ryan is popular with the GOP base and could energize Republicans who are skeptical of Romney’s conservative credentials.
“It’s a bold decision” Bill Bennett said on CNN, who worked for the former Education secretary as a speechwriter for his think tank, Empower America.
The announcement and introduction of a running mate comes as Romney kicks off in Virginia a four-day battleground state bus tour.
Romney unveils the new ticket at an event at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk in the morning.
The new GOP ticket then appears at a rally at the Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va, and winds up the day in northern Virginia, in a rally in Manassas.
Ryan was first elected to Congress in 1998 --when he was only 28-- and has become a specialist in government finance, serving on the Ways and Means Committee as well as the Budget panel.
A Catholic, Ryan was born Jan. 29, 1970 in Janesville, was raised there and currently lives there with his wife, Janna, and their three children.