Within minutes of Mitt Romney's announcement of Wisconsin Rep. Paul as his running mate, a wave of congratulations - and criticisms - from political leaders and pundits hit the Internet and airwaves.
The first major response to the announcement came from the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama. A mere 20 minutes after Ryan began his inaugural speech in Norfolk, Va., Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina had a response ready to go.
Calling the House Budget Committee Chairman's fiscal plan "extreme" and "radical," Messina said "with Mitt Romney's support, Ryan would end Medicare as we know it and slash the investments we need to keep our economy growing - all while cutting taxes for those at the very top."
"Our job is to make sure Americans know the truth about what Romney's choice says about him as a candidate and leader," he added.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who has admitted to a deep aversion to Romney's lack of transparency about his financial past, also took a jab at Ryan today.
"Romney's choice demonstrates that catering to the Tea Party and the far-right is more important to him that standing up for the middle class," he said in an email statement.
Boarding Marine One this afternoon for a campaign trip to Chicago, the president did not personally comment on questions about the pick fielded to him from the White House press corps.
But Vice President Joe Biden did personally call his new contender Saturday, welcoming him to the race and saying he looked forward to "engaging him on the clear choice voters face this November."
Praise was also doled out for the seven-term congressman thought of as one of the leading GOP voices on economic policy.
Senator and former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, R-Arizona, welcomed the announcement Saturday, saying "Governor Romney and Representative Ryan are the strongest team to return America to prosperity and to defend our interests abroad."
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also stepped in, praising the choice as "a confirmation that Gov. Romney is serious about strengthening America's economic future."
Although many pundits expected Romney to choose Ryan for his strength on economic issues and his popularity with the conservative wing of the party, other candidates were receiving more attention in the media as possible veep choices.
Of the many rumored candidates, Florida Senator Marco Rubio emerged as the most popular veep choice in a CNN/ORC International poll released just yesterday.
In that poll, Rubio received nearly twice the vote - 30 to 16 percent - that Ryan did. Nevertheless, Rubio and fellow possible veep choice Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell both had kind words for Romney's pick today.
Rubio said, "I got to know Paul during my Senate campaign when he endorsed me early on when I was still considered a long shot."
"Paul Ryan is a courageous reformer who understands our nation's challenges, has proposed bold policy solutions to solve them, and has shown the courage to stand up to President Obama."
McDonnell had similar praise. After introducing the Romney-Ryan ticket in Norfolk this morning, he issued a statement later saying Ryan was a "bold, innovative thinker." "America is on its way back," he added.
Even members of the much-maligned administration of former President George W. Bush weighed in today. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, herself a target for veep speculation early on, said Ryan was an "inspiring choice."
And even President Bush himself, who has largely kept out of the political spotlight since his second term ended in 2008, made a public statement about Romney's pick, saying "Ryan will help [Romney] solve the difficult issues that must be addressed for future generations."
Romney and Ryan are currently in North Carolina, the second stop of their first bus trip together as the official Republican ticket for the 2012 president elections. They will proceed onto Florida and Ohio in the coming days.
by RTT Staff Writer
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