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Well, this was to be expected but still it’s always worth talking about when we get word on this.  I’ll let Robert Costa of the National Review’s quote do the talking:

I’m reliably informed that Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Budget Committee chairman, has submitted paperwork to the Romney campaign. Sources confirm that he is being vetted for the vice-presidential nomination.

Yes, it does seem that Paul Ryan is at least being thoughtfully considered to be Mitt Romney’s #2.  Ryan does have a few big traits that would aid the Romney campaign.

  1. Wisconsin native.  Romney has made no secret that the Republicans are targeting Wisconsin heavily this year.  Not many polls show it to be a true toss-up state (it has a blue hue to it come to national races) but after the SuperPAC bombardment of the state during the recall election, it makes sense.  Adding a Wisconsin native to the ticket could potentially slash the likely Obama lead.
  2. Ryan is no longer a rising star, as I think he has established himself as a bona fide leader in the Republican Party.  As much as it pains me to write that, he attached his name to the GOP budget plan and is synonymous with it.  He’s in Washington a lot and I think plenty of non-political junkies could associate him with the current GOP.
  3. Romney has the full (sans the Ron Paulites) support of most factions of the Republican Party.  However, if he really wants to drive up support amongst the further right wing portion of the party, Ryan would be the right choice.

However I still can’t see Ryan as one of the favorites for the spot.  Ryan is heavily ambitious and I do believe him when he says that he loves being in Congress.  He’s carving out a legacy in the House and he seems to be the type that cares more about that than further political ambitions.

Plus if Mitt Romney loses, what benefit is there for Ryan?  His brand might even suffer some damage to it.  That’s why I think a non-prospect is more likely to take the plunge and would be a better choice for Romney.

There is one interesting thing about Ryan that I would like to touch base on.  Outside of Chris Christie and Ryan, not many of the potential Republican rising stars have really embraced Romney as a campaign surrogate.  Sure they support the Romney nomination, but when have you seen Marco Rubio eagerly touting Mitt?  Bobby Jindal and Susana Martinez also haven’t exactly been shouting the Romney brand from the rooftops either.

Of course there is way more going behind the scenes than most of us know.  But I find the public surrogates of Mitt to really be one segment of the GOP.  The seemingly unambitious, “boring”, Beltway types such as Tim Pawlenty, John Thune and Rob Portman.  Whether that is just reading too much into things or not, I do find it to be rather curious.

But Ryan’s vetting at least shows that the Romney team is allowing the right leaks to fall through following the minor controversy over Marco Rubio’s.

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