Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania Republicans weigh in.
Reaction was swift across the country to Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
A Red Keystone Snap Poll by Patch found strong support for Ryan among Pennsylvania Republicans.
Whether reached Saturday by email or phone, or in release of a prepared statement, Lehigh Valley Republicans and the Pennsylvania Republican Party chair lauded the pick.
Here is what they said:
* U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent: “Governor Romney made a smart choice by selecting Paul Ryan to be his Vice Presidential running mate. Representative Ryan couples a warm personality and manner with a keen intellect. He has focused on bringing America’s debt under control so that it won’t continue to impede economic growth and job creation. And, he’s done this in a bipartisan manner, incorporating ideas to deal with our structural debt crisis that prominent Democrats have suggested. Paul Ryan has offered serious suggestions and solutions that address the enormous fiscal and debt issues confronting our nation, and that is in stark contrast to President Obama’s appalling lack of leadership on these matters.
“On a personal note, there’s no doubt that he’ll be an energetic campaigner. I’ve done enough P90X workouts with him to tell you that he’ll hit the campaign trail on his feet and running.
* Easton Republican committeeman Ronnie Del Bacco was just getting back from vacation early Saturday when the news broke, but hadn’t heard about Romney’s announcement until Patch called.
“You just made my day,” he said in a phone interview.
“Yes, Paul Ryan is a fantastic choice,” Del Bacco added, praising Ryan’s budget plan and his record as a fiscal conservative.
He said he had expected Romney to pick New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Florida Senator Marco Rubio, “based on the hype.”
Still, Del Bacco said he thinks most Republicans will be excited by the pick.
* Writer/Commentator Pamela Varkony, former Lehigh County Republican Committee member and former Allentown City Council member: “Rep. Ryan is a strong and bold choice, certainly not the “safe” pick of [Ohio Sen. Rob] Portman or [former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty that many, myself included, expected.
As with any of the potential nominees that Gov. Romney could have chosen, Ryan brings strengths and challenges to the campaign.
By political standards he’s young, younger than President Obama was when he ran, and an equally strong speaker. He brings an energy and vibrancy to the campaign that should serve it well heading in to the convention and the debates.
His strength of character and faith speaks to his blue collar background and someone who came up the hard way. To the best of my knowledge, there’s never been a whiff of scandal around him. Although if there’s anything out there I’m sure the Democratic opposition research team is working overtime right now trying to find it.
His biggest strength will also be the campaign’s biggest challenge. Ryan has been willing to march in to the den of the deficit monster armed with little more than his determination and core principles. To slay that dragon, drastic measures are necessary. My hope is that the campaign messaging team will raise their game and find a way to explain to America, particularly her seniors, how and why budget cuts are necessary, and most importantly, spell out exactly what it will mean to each age group.
I believe Americans are willing to accept entitlement reform and the sacrifice that comes with it if only someone will offer them a coherent explanation of what reform looks like and how it will affect them personally. If anyone can do that, it’s Paul Ryan.”
* Lehigh County Controller Glenn Eckhart, who will be a delegate to the Republican National Convention later this month: ”I think the pick of Paul Ryan is a defining moment in the campaign. Paul Ryan’s leadership on protecting Medicare and Social Security while looking to providing opportunity for our younger folks with a new system that will be there when they retire is what good hardworking Americans want. His leadership in helping to balance the budget and protecting the future of our children and grandchildren so that they may have an America that we have had the opportunity to have. His leadership in tax policy and spending issues will help to promote a robust economy helping to create jobs and opportunity to all Americans that want it.
* Lehigh County Republican Committee member Dean Browning, a former Lehigh County commissioner: “It is a great choice for two reasons. First, it changes the electoral college calculus and makes it more favorable for Governor Romney.
“Second, and more importantly, it changes the focus of the election and presents an opportunity for both parties to discuss their plans for the fiscal direction our country should pursue.
“President Obama’s last budget was voted down 99-0 by a Senate controlled by his own party. And under his leadership we have gone three years without the Senate approving a budget. Meanwhile the deficit has topped $1 trillion every year President Obama has been in office. Meanwhile Representative Ryan has developed a budget plan that was passed by the House of Representatives.
The argument that will be made against Representative Ryan is that his budget plan “kills Medicare and Social Security.” The counter argument is that anyone who has passed sixth grade math can figure out that both programs will cease to exist if we continue on the current path as advocated by President Obama and his party. Representative Ryan has presented a credible plan to solve our fiscal problems in a way that ensures that both Social Security and Medicare will survive to serve those in the middle class that are counting on those programs. Representatives Ryan’s plan has been embraced by Governor Romney and that gives voters an opportunity to select the candidates and approach they feel will best address the country’s fiscal problems.
* Barbara Walters, head of the Lehigh Valley Tea Party: Walters said the group doesn’t endorse candidates but acknowledged that Ryan’s views are more in line with those of her organization than the Obama campaign’s. ”I think he will energize the base,” she said of the pick.
* Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason, in a prepared release, congratulated Ryan on being selected running mate and slammed President Obama’s record.
“Pennsylvanians will be well served by a Romney-Ryan team in White House that can finally shut the door on President Obama’s four years of high unemployment, out-of-control spending, and usher a new era of American prosperity,” he said in a prepared release.
“Pennsylvania will be first in line to send Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the White House when we deliver our 20 electoral votes this November.
Meanwhile, Democrats were quick to criticize Romney’s choice:
* Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn released a statement. It read in part: “Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan proves once again that he has the wrong agenda for middle class Pennsylvanians. Paul Ryan shares Mitt Romney’s commitment to helping the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. Ryan is the author of a budget plan that will increase taxes for the middle class and end Medicare as we know it, all to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”