Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C.
— Mitt Romney hit the bulls-eye with his selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate.
On the one hand, Ryan will energize conservatives who have been lukewarm toward Romney, dispelling once and for all the notion that Romney is not a true conservative. On the other hand, the 42-year-old Ryan, with his boyish good looks and laser focus on the economy, will appeal to independents.
“This is an excruciatingly brilliant choice,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a driving force of the conservative movement, tells me. “It confirms that this election will be a referendum on President Obama’s high-tax, high-spending, high-debt policies. Ryan has written a plan that puts us on a U-turn away from our present road to serfdom. Ryan highlights and dramatizes the difference between the two directions that Democrats and Republicans would take us.”
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“We should fire all the political consultants who tell us don’t take risks,” Ryan has told me in a Newsmax interview. “That’s one of the problems we have. We have too many politicians afraid of embracing change and big ideas in our own party.”
In the same way, Romney has made a bold pick, one that highlights his ability to take risks and stake out new territory. That’s what he did when he decided to invest Bain Capital funds in Staples before it had opened its first store.
“The investment in Staples was a contrarian one, because you had to believe that small businesses would change their consumer behavior and would actually drive to a store to purchase their supplies,” Robert F. White, a friend of Romney and fellow Bain Capital founder, has told me
“Several of the partners, including me, thought it was hard to get people to change their consumer behavior like that,” White said. “Mitt was pushing back, and there were good debates about whether it would happen. But as opposed to just having opinions about it, we went and got the information by doing the analysis and research.”
Romney made eight times his money in three years, and Staples now employs 90,000 people in 20,000 stores.
To be sure, Ryan will be an easy target for Democrats who want to vilify Republicans as a menace to the poor and elderly. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan wants to reduce the size of government and save federal entitlement programs by making reasonable cuts.
But as outlined in my story Calls for Tougher Romney Are Misguided, the Obama forces will make up stories no matter what the facts — as they did with a recent ad blaming Romney for the death of a woman with cancer because she lost her health insurance coverage when Bain Capital closed her husband’s steel plant.
In fact, Romney had left Bain Capital two years before Bain closed the steel plant after years of losses. Joe Soptic obtained another job and was covered by health insurance through the new job, but he chose not to pay for coverage for his wife. Contrary to Soptic’s assertion in the ad, his wife was covered by health insurance through her employer. But she had left her job by the time she was diagnosed with cancer. She died 22 days after being diagnosed — five years after the plant had closed.
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Ryan’s sunny disposition and Midwest optimism should be appealing to all Americans. His emphasis on solving problems rather than running away from them conforms with Romney’s approach.
“What matters most is not whether we can come up with great sound bites or have soothing rhetoric,” Ryan has told me. “What matters is that we come up with the best ideas, based upon our principles, that solve our problems. And to me that’s what matters. We have to come up with an economic recovery plan and show why the evidence shows that it works.”
“For those who thought the governor would ‘play it safe’ and choose someone less daring and sobering — they were wrong,”' said Don Adams, president of the Independence Hall Tea Party PAC, a Philadelphia-area group. “From this brave selection, we can deduce that Gov. Romney takes the debt crisis so seriously that he’s willing to risk his campaign on the Ryan budget plan — which seriously addresses the federal government’s disastrous and suicidal spending levels.”
“High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt isn’t a new normal,” Ryan said as part of the announcement. “It’s the result of misguided policies. And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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