Ryan has proposed to dramatically change Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for seniors, and overhaul other entitlement programs. His budget plan has been widely criticized by President Obama and his fellow Democrats, who contend it would end Medicare as we know it.
Why Ryan? The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz characterizes the reported choice as effort by Romney to “double down on conservative ideology” in a way that would eliminate his campaign’s “ideological fuzziness.”
In a single stroke, Romney energizes the right wing of his party by picking the man who many Republicans revere as the intellectual leader of the party’s drive to shrink government. But he also hands President Obama and the Democrats a titanic target with a paper trail, given Ryan’s budget-slashing plan, approved by the House, that would turn Medicare into a voucher program …
The Ryan pick will help Romney enormously in one key respect. The choice emphatically changes the subject at a time when the former Massachusetts governor has spent weeks on the defensive, on issues ranging from his failure to release more tax returns to his tenure at Bain Capital to the lack of a defined message. Romney has slipped behind Obama by as much as 9 points in national polls, as well as in a number of key swing states.
As of Saturday, Romney’s campaign will no longer suffer from ideological fuzziness. The question is whether his new running mate, while exciting the base, will help Romney win over crucial independent voters — or scare them away.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
Read more at USA Today.