With Paul Ryan, Romney Makes the VP Pick Obama Wanted

| Sat Aug. 11, 2012 9:10 AM EDT
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney

In a way, Paul Ryan is exactly whom President Barack Obama wanted on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. By selecting the Republican congressman from Wisconsin, whose name is synonymous with the GOP's cut-taxes-for-the-rich and slash-programs-for-the-middle-class-and-the-poor, Romney has helped Obama in his No. 1 mission: shape the election not as a referendum on the sluggish economy but as a sharp clash between opposing sets of values and programs for the future.

Ever since the Democrats' clock was cleaned by the tea party-ized Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama has pursued a grand political strategy of setting up his reelection contest as a choice between archly different visions. Long before Romney had vanquished the midgets of the GOP pack, Obama began using the Ryan budget proposal as his chief foil. In April 2011, he gave a speech at George Washington University that was a tongue-lashing of the Ryan's budget plan, which would end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit and throw more tax breaks at the well-to-do than George W. Bush could imagine. Ryan, who attended the speech, was insulted and immediately blasted the president.

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