Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, shakes hands with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Chairman of the House Budget Committee, right, before speaking with supporters of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker at a phone bank during a campaign stop in Fitchburg, Wis., in this March 31, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. The newly minted GOP ticket will appear together Saturday in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the GOP ticket to the nation. (AP/Steven Senne)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, completing his party's ticket as he tries to repair an image damaged by negative Democratic advertising and shift the trajectory of a campaign that's seen him lose ground to President Barack Obama.
The vice presidential selection will dominate headlines, and Romney's team relentlessly teased the announcement for weeks. Romney made his announcement Saturday to supporters via a phone app, saying — quote — "Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan."
Romney and Ryan were set to appear together at 9 a.m. local time in Norfolk, Virginia. The pair will be kicking off a four-day bus tour that will take them to as many states.
At 42, Ryan is a generation younger than the 65-year-old Romney. The Wisconsin representative is viewed by some in the Republican Party as a bridge between the buttoned-up party establishment and riled-up conservative activists who have never warmed to Romney.
As the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan could help Romney make the argument that only the Republican ticket knows how to turn around a nation in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery. As talk about Ryan swirled this week, Democrats have been castigating Romney for embracing the Ryan-sponsored budget proposal that critics say is painful to the poor and elderly. It was a sign of the line of attack to come.
The move also now links Romney directly with House Republicans, including no-compromise conservative activists who have pressed for deep spending cuts. Obama has been casting House Republicans as an impediment to progress in often-gridlocked Washington.
At the same time, Ryan on the ticket could help Romney become more competitive in Wisconsin, a state Obama won handily four years ago but that could be much tighter this November.
In recent days, conservative pundits urged Romney to choose Ryan in large part because of his authorship of a House-backed budget plan that seeks to curb overall entitlement spending and changes government health insurance for the elderly and poor into a voucher-like system to save costs.
Romney fueled the buzz around Ryan on Thursday, telling NBC that he wants a vice president with "a vision for the country, that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country."
Several Republicans took that as an indication that Ryan had shot to the top of a shortlist said to include Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Neither of those Republicans had plans to be in Virginia on Saturday.
The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial on Thursday, praised Ryan as a strong choice for Romney: "The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House budget chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline."