DENVER (CBS4) – All sides seem to agree — Mitt Romney’s choice for a running mate is a bold and somewhat surprising move. It’s one that could change the political conversation and possibly his fortunes in Wisconsin.
Members of the Colorado delegation get along with Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan as a person, but after that, it’s all politics.
“The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this, we won’t duck the tough issues, we will lead,” Ryan said.
“It’s either his way or the highway,” Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter said.
“He loves to take a vacation in Colorado once a year,” Republican Rep. Mike Coffman said.
Ryan will be working to shape Coloradans’ opinion of him as Romney’s vice-presidential pick.
“I’ve worked closely with Republicans as well as Democrats to advance an agenda of growth, fiscal discipline and job creation,” Ryan said.
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, he’s focused on reducing the federal budget deficit by trying to trim Medicare.
“The Republicans, and especially Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, would like to put the entire debt at the feet of Medicare or Pell grants,” Perlmutter said.
Both sides say changes must be made, but where and how?
“If you look at the Ryan plan, it doesn’t involve making any changes to people 55 and above,” Coffman said. “It’s 55 and below and those changes are to sustain it for future generations.”
Democrats accuse Ryan and the Republicans of obstructing the recovery.
“The Ryan budget and the approach that these guys have been taking to put hurdles in front of the president has not been good for America,” Perlmutter said.
Republicans like Ryan will pin the blame on the president.
“He passed nearly every item on his agenda, but that didn’t make things better,” Ryan said.
Republicans believe Ryan bring the presidential race to an issue they’ve been pounding on for years — the budget deficit.
“Who is willing to be honest with the American people and tell them we’ve got some difficult choices to make?” Coffman said.
Republican strategists have been saying their votes will come from people who are anti-Obama. Adding Ryan however, may invigorate both sides — conservatives who support his budget cutting, and Democrats who fear it.
Ryan is only 42 years old but he’s already served seven terms in Congress. He and his wife Janna have a daughter and two sons. On his Facebook page he says he likes to climb Colorado’s 14ers.