Romney picks conservative Paul Ryan as running mate

August 11th, 2012 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bobby Jindal Washington, Aug 11 (IANS) Skipping two rising Indian-American stars, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney Saturday picked up fiscal conservative Paul Ryan as his running mate, making faltering economy as the key issue in the November poll.

While both Bobby Jindal and (Nimrata) Nikki Haley, governors of Louisiana and South Carolina respectively, have been speculated among Romney’s picks, he instead chose Ryan, 42, a House member who has stridently opposed the growing size and scope of the federal government.

Introducing Ryan as a man of character and integrity in the backdrop of battleship USS Wisconsin, named for Ryan’s home state, in Norfolk, Virginia, about 200 miles from here, Romney pledged that he and his running mate would go to every corner of the country to improve the economy and strengthen the middle class.

Like then Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s vice presidential announcement four years ago, his Republican challenger Romney’s announcement started with a flub: he introduced Ryan as the next president of the US. When Ryan took the stage, Romney corrected himself.

“We’re offering a positive governing agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity, and that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens,” said Romney at the start of a four-day bus tour of swing states.

“Our plan to strengthen the middle class will get America back to work and get our country back on track,” he said taking care to emphasise the middle-class roots of the seven-term congressman, who has led the Republican charge on spending cuts, taxes and entitlements.

In an attempt to pre-empt some of the attacks from Democrats over Ryan’s controversial budget plan, Romney pledged: “We will preserve medicare and social security and keep them there for future generations.”

But the Obama campaign was quick to criticise Romney’s pick, saying he “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”.

“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,” campaign manager Jim Messina said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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