MacIver News Service | August 11, 2012
[JANESVILLE, Wisc...] The next Vice President of the United States may be a humble, likable policy wonk from this small Wisconsin city--a guy who is so frugal he doesn't even rent an apartment in Washington, DC. He'd rather sleep on a cot in his Capitol Hill office.
On Saturday morning former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, announced he had picked Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan to run along side him as the GOP's vice presidential nominee.
In an exclusive interview with the MacIver News Service conducted two weeks before the announcement, Ryan explained the importance of this election.
"I would argue that philosophically speaking this one of the most profound elections we will have ever had in this country," he said. "Because we really are choosing one of two different paths."
This free market advocate (he refers to economist Milton Friedman as "Uncle Milty") has earned a reputation as an articulate defender of conservative policy.
"I believe we have a really good chance of reclaiming a vision and principles true to our nation's founding that gets America back on top as being that great opportunity society. That shining City on the Hill. That society of upward mobility where everybody can make it," Ryan said in late July. "That's what we're all about. We believe in equality of opportunity, not the President's agenda of equality of outcome and a government-run society. That's the big difference in this election. And I think that's why this is a real race in time on this front."
See an excerpt of that interview:
In recent years Ryan, has gained prominence and a national following as the author of the Path to Prosperity, a comprehensive and controversial budget proposal that addresses the nation's debt and deficit through a series of spending restraints and entitlement program reforms.
Promotional material for the plan calls it a blueprint for American renewal that:
- Cuts government spending to protect hardworking taxpayers;
- Tackles the drivers of our debt, so our troops don't pay the price for Washington's failure to take action;
- Restores economic freedom and ensures a level playing field for all by putting an end to special-interest favoritism and corporate welfare;
- Reverses the President's policies that drive up gas prices, and instead promotes an all-of the-above strategy for unlocking American energy production to help lower costs, create jobs, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
- Strengthens health and retirement security by taking power away from government bureaucrats and empowering patients instead with control over their own care;
- Reforms our broken tax code to spur job creation and economic opportunity by lowering rates, closing loopholes, and putting hardworking taxpayers ahead of special interests.
Even with Ryan as his running mate that blueprint is not the Romney platform per se; but before the April 3 primary here, Romney had announced his support for the basic tenets of the Ryan plan. Ryan would ultimately offer Romney an endorsement and tour the Badger state with the Bay State Republican in the week before Romney won the competitive GOP primary here. The two shared the stage on several occasions and Ryan even helped orchestrate an April Fools Day joke on the man who would, four months later, ask him to run as vice president.
Ryan's willingness to address the pending financial insolvency of Medicare and Social Security earns high praise from his supporters and just as vehement scorn form his detractors. One group working to demonize the Ryan plan actually ran a commercial that featured a Ryan lookalike wheeling an elderly woman over a cliff.
Fast forward fifteen months, and with the young Wisconsin congressman on the ticket, it is a theme we can expect to see more of as the already nasty Presidential campaign enters the home stretch.
Throughout 2011, free market advocates from across the country were encouraging Ryan launch his own campaign for President. After flirting with the idea, and despite mounting support from many high profile advocates, Ryan, an avid hunter and personal fitness buff, declined. He cited the toll such a campaign of more than a year long would have on his young family, as well as his continued desire to advance his ideas through a Republican Congress as an influential committee chair.
It was in August of 2001 when he sat down with the MacIver News Service and, for the first time on camera, explained his decision not to run. When asked if he would accept a hypothetical request to run for vice president, he was quick to respond.
"Who knows? Like I said I just cross bridges when I get to them," he said.
Thanks to a call from Mitt Romney, that bridge now runs from the Charles River in Boston all the way across the Rock River in Janesville.
And while it is certain to take Paul Ryan all across America as the Republican vice presidential nominee, the next 87 days will determine whether it will take him to the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory, where the Vice President of the United States of America resides, office cot notwithstanding.
The Paul Ryan File
Born, January 29, 1970
Ancestry, Irish and German
Religion, Roman Catholic
Married to Janna, father of Liza, Charlie and Sam
First elected to Congress in 1998
Chairman of the House Budget Committee
Earned degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio
A fifth generation resident of Janesville
Youngest of four children of Paul Sr. (deceased) and Betty Ryan