Calling Paul Ryan a "big, bold choice" for Republican Mitt Romney, Governor Scott Walker told an assortment of media Saturday morning that the Wisconsin congressman will energize the Republican base and bring swing voters along with him.
"Paul is a compliment to Mitt Romney because he doesn't just energize the base, he appeals to swing voters who are hungry for leaders who will take on the tough issues," he said. "He excites the base not just here in Wisconsin but across America."
Walker also praised Ryan's ability to debate and discuss the issues without making it personal.
"We going to see the level of discourse rise in this election because Paul recognizes that his opponent today could very well be his ally tomorrow," the governor added. "He is revered by both Democrats and Republicans for his integrity."
As for whether or not Ryan's plans for Medicare will hurt the Romney ticket, Walker doesn't think so.
"Paul has the courage to take these things on, and it's okay if the president wants to attack his plan, but what's their plan? They don't have one," he said. "No plan is not leadership. I think Mitt Romney's plan will be different from Paul's because he will be the president, but they share the same values."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett came out in support of President Barack Obama Saturday at a press conference at the president's campaign offices on Milwaukee's east side, arguing Romney has embraced Ryan’s fiscal plan, creating a sharp line between the two presidential opponents.
“It is clear Mitt Romney is embracing Paul Ryan’s economic philosophy, and that economic philosophy goes right back to George Bush,” Barrett said, adding voters don't want to go back to the failed policies of Bush, which lead to debt and the deficit. "He is a nice guy, and a good family man, but his vision for the country is wrong."
Barrett added the wealthiest in the country need to be apart of the economic issues its is facing, not just the middle class, as he said is outlined in Ryan's Path to Prosperity plan.
“I will commend him in understanding that there are serious economic issues facing this nation; where I will be critical is in his prescription,” he said. “The wealthiest people in this nation have to be apart of the solving the fiscal issues.”
He added Romney caved under pressure from the right to choose an extreme conservative candidate, as opposed to a candidate that could appeal to the independent voter.
“Wisconsin will continue to be a competitive state, but I’m confident President Obama will be serving four more years,” he said. “If people understand what’s in Ryan's plan, and more importantly, what’s not in that plan, they are going to reject it. Everyone needs to be part of the solution, not just the middle class.”
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Romney, Ryan to appear in Waukesha Sunday
Romney and Ryan will both speak in Waukesha at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday, Aug. 12 in Waukesha, the Republican Party of Waukesha stated in an email blast today.
The event will take place at the Waukesha County Expo Center. Doors will open at 4 p.m.
The Romney campaign was originally scheduled to campaign at two rallies in North Carolina.
All four GOP candidates for Wisconsin's Senate seat are adjusting their campaign schedules for Sunday to attend the Waukesha event.
Wisconsin plays big role at convention
Walker has been tapped to speak at the Republican National Convention in Florida later this month. He said he isn't sure if he'll be introducing Ryan.
"I don't know what I'll be doing," he answered. "If I don't introduce the Vice President, then I know I'll spend a good deal of time talking about him."
With the high-profile representation from Wisconsin at the convention, Walker was asked if the event shouldn't just be moved to Lambeau Field.
"It is a Cheesehead convention," he acknowledged. "Reince Preibus is a particularly proud Cheesehead this morning."
Reaction from around Southeast Wisconsin to the announcement that Romney chose Ryan to be his running mate has offered plenty of whoops and hollers of “hooray," amid a few remarks that the decision may have been a mistake.
Wisconsin native and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus was understandably enthusiastic on Twitter:
Ryan excites base, conservative principles
Mark Neumann, former Congressman from 1995 to 1999 and candidate for U.S. Senate, said the Romney-Ryan ticket demonstrates a commitment to conservative principles.
"When I served in Congress and Paul was a young staff member, I saw in him a future leader; someone with the ability to understand the problems our country faces and the skills to get the job done," Neumann said. "I worked hard to ensure he was the one to represent the district I had the honor to serve."
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson and candidate for U.S. Senate said the selection was "a wonderful addition to the ticket, and I'm so proud and happy with the selection. It's a great day for Wisconsin and for America."
Calling Ryan a "force for change in Wisconsin and throughout the country," Thompson told reporters at a press conference Saturday he felt the Ryan announcement would bolster voter turnout throughout the state in the upcoming Aug. 14 senate primary, even though Ryan would not be on the ballot.
"People are so energized and proud that someone from our state is a vice presidential candidate, and it will motivate them to show that at the polls on Tuesday," he said.
Thompson also said that he was confident Ryan would retain his seat in the 1st congressional district, where he faces a re-election challenge from Democrat Rob Zerban.
"I'm quite certain he'll retain the seat in the district. It may be a hard fought, highly contested race, but voters will respond with their approval," Thompson said.
First Wisconsin VP pick since 1984
The Republican Party of Wisconsin said Ryan as the vice presidential pick will help deliver Wisconsin to a Republican candidate for the first time since 1984 and heralded his in-depth knowledge of the federal budget.
"This is a dramatic turn of events in the state of Wisconsin and Republican efforts to turn the state red for the presidency for the first time since 1984," said Nathan Conrad, RPW communications director.
"Congressman Ryan is a perfect fit for the vice presidency, his innate knowledge of the fiscal issues that face our nation and his overwhelming popularity in the Badger State is sending shockwaves around the country and bolstering efforts for the true reform our nation needs during these difficult economic times," Conrad said.
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President and CEO Kurt R. Bauer said he is happy with the decision because of Ryan's experience and successful history.
"The Wisconsin business community applauds Governor Mitt Romney's selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Congressman Ryan has continued our state's proud history of electing leaders who have distinguished themselves and Wisconsin at the national level," Bauer said in a press release from WMC.
"Congressman Ryan's experience, encyclopedic command of complex budgetary issues and commitment to the free enterprise system give him instant credibility with the business community to hold the nation's second highest office."
Choosing Ryan ensures 'campaign of big ideas'
Mark Green former Congressman and Ambassador told Patch, "I'm happy for Paul, of course, but I'm also happy for Governor Romney and Republicans everywhere. Choosing Paul ensures that this will be a campaign of big ideas."
Kathy Stepp, a former GOP state senator and current secretary of the Department of Natural Resources added: "The choice of our Paul Ryan has infused the Romney campaign with grassroots vigor, and demonstrates Romney is unafraid to take on the most serious concerns facing our country. Wisconsin grassroots will come out in droves to deliver a win for this team."
Republican Van Wanggaard, a former state senator in Racine County, was extremely enthusiastic about the choice as well, posting on Facebook his excitement for Ryan as the next vice president.
"So proud that my friend and Congressman, Paul Ryan will be the next Vice President of the United States! Governor Mitt Romney could not have picked a better person for the job!" he wrote.
Bill Folk, chair of the Racine County GOP, said the local party couldn't be more proud.
"We at the Racine County Republican Party are proud of Congressman Ryan. He will serve the Romney administration extremely well," Folk said. "Paul Ryan is an excellent choice as Vice-President with his understanding of budgets and how Washington works.
"He is the type of pick, a bold pick, that will ensure Americans know exactly what we have to look forward to; how business works; and how to get our fiscal house in order," Folk said. "We are proud and look forward to helping move Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan into the White House."
Not everyone agrees
But some are saying Romney made the wrong choice by choosing such an extreme candidate, that will give voters a clearer decision — one that may sway them away from voting Republican.
"Paul Ryan is a right-wing extremist who wants to end Medicare. This is a major unforced error by Mitt Romney," Adam Green, co-founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has more than 27,000 Wisconsin members and nearly a million nationally.
"It gives President Obama and Democrats a chance to draw a clear contrast in 2012 by promising not to cut one penny from Medicare or Social Security benefits," Green said. "If Democrats win in a landslide this November, Romney's pick of Paul Ryan was the game changer."
Democrat Rob Zerban is challenging Ryan for his seat in the 1st Congressional District. On Thursday, he wrote an Op-Ed in The Nation that compared Ryan to former Vice-president Dick Cheney. After the announcement Saturday, he released a statement accusing Ryan of abandoning his constituents — and all Americans — for his own ambition.
"Now that Paul Ryan’s personal ambition has clearly trumped his interest in the First District, I have no doubt he’ll find himself out of a job come November," Zerban wrote Saturday.
House opponent calls Ryan's policies 'radical'
"Once Wisconsinites and voters across our country learn the truth about Ryan’s radical plot to end Medicare as we know it, de-fund women’s health care, and preserve tax breaks for millionaires, they'll vote against him not just once, but twice," Zerban said.
"In the coming weeks, our campaign will work with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to continue getting the word out on Ryan’s indefensible record, and building momentum to ensure victory on Election Day," Zerban said.
Robert Hansen of Progressive Democrats Of America in Milwaukee County thinks Ryan's choice is just preparation for 2016 and Romney is a footnote for Ryan's road to the White House.
"It is the pick I expected him to make," Hansen said. "With all the exposure Mr. Ryan has received on FOX News in the last year one had to assume that the Republican Party insiders were getting him ready for 2016.
"It is possible that this pick helps the Dems far more than it helps the Republicans," Hansen said. "You have a man that can't identify a donut from two feet away and a man that is clearly deficient at math if you ever actually read his budget."
Patch editor Adam McCoy contributed to this report.