Their presidential ticket complete, Republicans rallied around presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and his newly named running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, Sunday.
Some of the most enthusiastic praise came from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has said the GOP cannot treat the election as a simple referendum on President Obama and has publicly urged Romney to run a bolder campaign.
“I absolutely think it is game-changing, and it’s unique,” Walker said of the Ryan selection on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Paul Ryan offers something, I think, distinctively unique: On one hand, he has a tremendous way to inspire and pump up the base. You’ll see that going into the convention.
“But at the same time—and we’ve seen it for years here in Wisconsin—he has tremendous appeal to swing voters and independent voters in states like Wisconsin that are battleground states because he’s smart and he’s bold but he listens, and he relates well to voters all across the political spectrum,” added Walker, a conservative star after surviving a high-profile recall election in June.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul tweeted Sunday morning that $3.5 million in donations had poured into the campaign within 24 hours of the Ryan pick.
Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee in 2008, called Ryan an “excellent choice” on “Fox News Sunday,” saying the 42-year-old House Budget Committee chairman represents a “new generation of leadership in our party and nation.”
Ryan has gained national notoriety for budget proposals aimed at reining in government spending. His admirers, such as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, praise him for being “willing to have tough, serious debates about these issues.”
Priebus called Ryan’s selection “a blessing to our country” on “Meet the Press.”
But Ryan’s detractors believe his proposals go too far, threatening social services while cutting taxes for wealthy Americans.
Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich appeared to be in the latter camp when he called Ryan’s budget “right-wing social engineering” last May.
But on Sunday, Gingrich said Ryan is gutsy.
“You look at the kind of problems around the world from spending being out of control, and you have to say to yourself, ‘Somebody has to have the guts to stand up and offer a roadmap,’ if you will,” Gingrich said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I think the effort Ryan has put in, in my mind, makes him an extraordinarily exciting choice because you now have a national leader who is capable of talking in detail with the American people about some very complicated topics.”
The Obama campaign has already seized on Gingrich’s earlier assessment and tried Sunday to paint Ryan as an extremist.
“I think it’s a choice that will thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party, the Tea Party, the social conservatives,” Obama adviser David Axelrod said on “Meet the Press. “I think it’s going to be troubling to the mainstream of the American electorate.”Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.