Romney names Ryan his running mate
(CBS News) MANASSAS, Va. - Mitt Romney has filled out his ticket and drawn the battle lines for campaign 2012. With the Republican Convention just over two weeks away, the presumed presidential nominee has named Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate. He made the announcement Saturday morning in Norfolk, Virginia, the kickoff to a swing state bus tour.
Ryan was the favorite of some conservatives urging Romney to go bold, but his nomination still came as a surprise - and one that instantly resets the presidential race.
In Norfolk, Ryan stepped off the retired battleship USS Wisconsin and onto the national stage, energizing the conservative base and injecting substantive issues into the campaign.
"There are a lot of people in the other party who might disagree with Paul Ryan," said Romney. "I don't know of anyone who doesn't respect his character and judgment."
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, the seven-term congressman from southern Wisconsin has hammered a message of fiscal responsibility. Ryan has proposed revamping Medicare before it becomes insolvent, cutting trillions of dollars in discretionary spending, and reforming the tax code.
As he put it in his first speech as the VP nominee: "We are on an unsustainable path that is robbing America of our freedom and security. It doesn't have to be this way."
But beyond energizing the base -- which has been lukewarm to Romney -- Ryan could also help pick up support key swing states, including his home state of Wisconsin
The president won Wisconsin in 2008 by 14 points over Sen. John McCain. Recent polls show a decline in his support. He now leads Romney in Wisconsin by six points.
Ryan and Romney spent the rest of the day in the swing state of Virginia where Ryan fired up crowds in Ashland.
"He [Obama] is going to divide and distract this country to win an election by default. You know what? We are not going to fall for that," said Ryan.
But for all the enthusiasm of the right, the morning wasn't perfect. Romney had a little trouble introducing his running mate. "Join me," he said, "in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan."
It was the same mistake then-Sen. Barack Obama made four years ago when he introduced Joe Biden. "The next president ... the next vice president," said Obama back then.
This morning, Romney didn't realize his gaffe right away and bounded back to the podium to clarify.
"Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake," he said. "I did not make a mistake with this guy. But I can tell you this: He's going to be the next vice president of the United States."
Now we found out a little more about how Romney came to this decision. He made up his mind on Paul Ryan 10 days ago when he called him that day, but he didn't tell him he was the pick. He told him on August 5 that he was going to be the nominee, and then of course, the rest of us found out Saturday.
- Jan Crawford
Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.Follow on Twitter »
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