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Romney Defends VP Pick, Washington Reacts

Written By: Renata Stiehl
Romney Ryan 2012 Ticket

WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- Mitt Romney continued his bus tour of battleground states on Monday, two days after announcing his running mate -- Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan.

It was love at first sight for both parties -- Republicans are enjoying touting his conservative spending plans.  They're the same plans Democrats are eager to slam.

On Monday, Romney said he’s "delighted" to have Ryan as his running mate.

“[He's] a man who has proven that he knows how to solve problems.  He did not just go to Washington to get involved in public service to try to make a name for himself,” said Romney.

But President Obama isn’t sharing the warm sentiment.  Campaigning in Iowa, pushing for movement on the stalled Farm Bill, he said, "I am told that Governor Romney’s new running mate, Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa the next few days.  He is one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this Farm Bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.”

Democrats are criticizing Ryan's Medicare proposals, which includes a provision that Medicare-approved private insurers would one day compete with traditional Medicare.  The proposal wouldn't affect Americans over age 55, but Democrats say the plan would hurt seniors.

“Mitt Romney’s full embrace of the Romney/Ryan budget by actually nominating and selecting its author and architect to be his running mate really spells disaster for the middle class and spells disaster for seniors," said Democratic National Committee chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Republicans call Ryan a "confident choice."  They say he'll excite the conservative base and help win his home state of Wisconsin -- possibly even bring in votes from other Great Lakes states.  Ryan has what Romney doesn’t – deep experience on Capitol Hill.  He's a 13-year veteran congressman.

“We deserve to have a debate and the American people deserve to know the truth as to where we are at in this economy," said Republican National Committee chair Reince Prieubs.  "What this shows the country is that Mitt Romney is willing to govern like he campaigned.  It’s not enough to win, but we have to fix the problems that face this country."

Reaction is coming in from our local lawmakers in Washington and those running against them.  Republican Congressman Tom Reed, who has worked alongside Ryan on the Ways and Means Committee says, “I believe that Gov. Romney’s bold selection will elevate the debate above petty personal attacks and illustrate the stark contrast between two very different visions for the future of the United States.”

Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, Nate Shinagawa says, "Congressman Paul Ryan wrote the plan to end Medicare as we know it so that the private insurance companies funding their campaigns will profit while seniors will pay more for their health care."

Romney's bus tour continues in Ohio on Tuesday.