Minnesota politicos react to Romney’s Ryan pick

With MPR’s Tom Scheck

Mitt Romney’s campaign confirmed this morning that Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, to be his running mate.

As news broke of Romney’s choice late Friday night, Minnesota GOP insiders welcomed the choice because Ryan is a fiscal hawk who has called for dramatic action to reduce the federal deficit.

Democrats are also pleased with Romney’s choice because Ryan’s budget plan relied on deep spending cuts to programs popular with liberals to reduce the deficit. The Obama campaign will use the Ryan budget cuts, which would have targeted social safety net programs important to the poor and elderly among others, to contrast its own commitment to preserve those programs.

Another plus: Picking Ryan may help Romney win Wisconsin, which looks to be competitive in this year’s presidential race.

“[Ryan’s] leadership begins with character and values,” Romney said during his speech to introduce his new vice president.

“He doesn’t demonize his opponent. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences,” Romney went on.

Ryan’s debut speech focused heavily on the nation’s financial woes, and said that Romney’s presidency would put the country back on the right track.

“We are in a different and dangerous moment,” Ryan said. “We’re running out of time and we can’t afford four more years of this.”

“Higher unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not the new normal,” he said.

Romney’s choice means former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been passed over a second time to be on a presidential ticket. Romney was reportedly seriously considering Pawlenty this year. McCain picked Sarah Palin over Pawlenty in 2008. For his part, Pawlenty said he’s not disappointed that he isn’t the pick.

Pawlenty will be campaigning in New Hampshire for Romney today, and will make appearances Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week.

We will update this post throughout the morning as we get reaction from Minnesota’s political insiders.

Minnesota’s Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge, who served as a campaign consultant to Ryan, issued this reaction to Romney’s announcement, saying that Ryan is a “friend I’ve known for two decades and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family.”

“The selection of Paul Ryan as the Vice Presidential nominee demonstrates Governor Romney’s commitment to the kind of bold solutions that will restore prosperity and preserve freedom in our country. The Governor clearly realizes that getting to 270 electoral votes isn’t an end in itself. He knows we have to make big changes.

Shortridge lauded Ryan’s budgeting experience:

“Paul Ryan has been a leader in proposing bold, free market solutions to America’s problems. He knows that our policies in Washington must restore economic growth, and will be a great ally in helping craft and pass a Romney economic plan that will get this economy going, by doing long-overdue things like reforming the tax code.

“His work on creating one of the most important plans for overhauling the budget, cutting spending, and saving critical programs like Medicare is well known. Some say it’s controversial, but it’s really common sense.

“Minnesotans know that we can’t keep spending money we don’t have, borrowing from China, and robbing our children. They also know that Medicare is going bankrupt and that we must fix it without slashing benefits or raising taxes.

Pawlenty issued this statement on Romney’s decision to pick Ryan:

“Congressman Ryan is a respected leader and a bold thinker regarding the changes needed to restore America. His selection will also help Governor Romney win the key swing state of Wisconsin. I am excited about a Romney-Ryan ticket and look forward to doing all I can to help them win this election.”

President Obama’s campaign was quick to attack Ryan’s record on the budget.

Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina issued this statement:

“In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.”

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued this statement:

“With his choice of Congressman Paul Ryan for Vice President, Mitt Romney has made clear to the American people, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what the goals of a Romney presidency would be: to end Medicare as we know it, privatize Social Security and slash funds for education from Head Start to college loans, all in the name of giving even larger tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Romney and Ryan would double down on exactly the same Bush economic policies that sent our country into a tailspin in 2008.

“In his quest to appease the conservative base, Romney has lost all hope of persuading independent voters that he isn’t exactly what we already know he is: desperately out of touch with the problems facing regular Americans and unable to put forth an economic plan that benefits anyone other than the few people in his own tax bracket.”

Second Congressional District Rep. John Kline wrote:

“My friend and fellow Midwesterner Paul Ryan brings one of the sharpest and brightest economic minds to the debate and offers commonsense solutions for what ails our economy. His leadership is exactly what our nation needs after four years of failed policies that produced debt, not jobs. I look forward to working with a Romney-Ryan administration that will bring fiscal discipline and accountability to the federal government and enact policies that provide certainty, which will enable job creators to put Americans back to work.”

Fifth Congressional District Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat, said that by adding Ryan to the ticket, Romney is “doubling down on failed Republican policies that drove our nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

A Romney-Ryan administration would mean less economic security for every American. For proof, look no further than Paul Ryan’s radical House Republican budget…

On one hand, Democrats are committed to shared economic prosperity, investment in the American people, and a secure retirement for our seniors. On the other hand, a Romney-Ryan administration would lead us down a dark path towards austerity, greater income inequality, and fewer jobs.

Simply put, Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate sends an unmistakable message to the American people that if you fall on hard times, you’ll be on your own.

Americans can’t afford a Romney-Ryan administration. I look forward to making that case over the coming months.”

GOP state Rep. Kurt Bills, who is challenging Sen. Amy Klobuchar for her U.S. Senate seat, made the following statement:

“Mitt Romney made a superb choice! Paul Ryan is a leader in Congress on budget issues, and has led the fight to pass responsible budgets for the past several years. Budget bills that unfortunately have been blocked in the Senate, which has failed to pass their own budget plan in three years. The Senate has been a roadblock, refusing to even pass a budget. I look forward to being a part of new Senate that can work with President Romney and VP Paul Ryan to pass needed reforms that save our future and get our country on the path of true recovery.”

Sixth Congressional District Rep. Michele Bachmann wrote:

“Today, Mitt Romney cemented his vision for America as the economic leader in the world. Paul Ryan’s leadership in Congress and his boldness to deal with our financial problems is exactly what Americans want to hear. More importantly, Ryan’s boldness is exactly what America needs. Since 2008, uncertainty has plagued employers, families and our economy and the Obama-Biden ticket has failed to realize the depth of the situation.”

DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, said Romney’s decision to pick Ryan means Romney is “doubling down on failed Republican policies that drove our nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Americans now have a clear choice between two very different visions for our country.

On one hand, Democrats are committed to shared economic prosperity, investment in the American people, and a secure retirement for our seniors. On the other hand, a Romney-Ryan administration would lead us down a dark path towards austerity, greater income inequality, and fewer jobs.

Simply put, Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate sends an unmistakable message to the American people that if you fall on hard times, you’ll be on your own.

Eight Congressional District Rep. Chip Cravaack posted this comment on Twitter:

Republican Party of Minnesota Deputy chair Kelly Fenton wrote:

First Congressional District GOP hopeful Allen Quist wrote:

Mike Parry is also hoping to run on the GOP ticket in the 1st CD.

  • Ethan

    The amazing thing about a Ryan selection is that it would be a complete 180 from the cautious, detail-free, keep the focus on Obama and the economy campaign that Romney has been running so far.

    After all, by contrast, Ryan has been very specific in what he wants to do and much of it will be unpopular.

    By selecting Ryan, Romney switches his election strategy from simply being a referendum on the incumbent to a real choice between two very different governing visions. And a choice election is what Team Obama wants.

    Since a Ryan selection is one that both the Tea Party true believers and Team Obama want, it really should make for a fascinating few months.

  • Marianne Stebbins

    The Ryan Plan kicked the can down the road to future generations before it balanced. Congress deals with spending a couple years at a time. There was nothing to it but a hope and a prayer. I don’t see this bringing in the support he needs.

  • Marianne Stebbins

    The Ryan Plan kicked the can down the road to future generations before it balanced. Congress deals with spending a couple years at a time. There was nothing to it but a hope and a prayer. I don’t see this bringing in the support Romney needs.

  • Jamie

    Hmmm… Comments from 9 Republicans and 3 Democrats. And MPR claims not to be biased in favor of Republicans.