Who Is Paul Ryan, Romney's VP Pick, Exactly?

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

On Saturday morning, Mitt Romney answered the question many have asked during this 2012 presidential election campaign: Who will be his vice-presidential running mate? While names like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been circulated, it was Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan who joined the GOP candidate onstage in Virginia to announce their partnership. As Ryan was introduced to a new audience outside of his middle-America constituency, the Guardian dug into the candidate's personal history.

Unlike the vastly moneyed Romney, who was born the son of a state governor and an auto-industry magnate, Ryan's background is more modest and marred by tragedy.

He was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, on 29 January 1970, in the south of the state, amid a region of rolling hills, farms and small towns struggling with the decline of American industry.

His father, Paul Ryan Sr, was a successful lawyer, in Janesville, and from a long established prominent Roman Catholic family in the town. It was a stable and solidly middle class family ideal that Ryan himself has replicated.

He remains a Catholic, married Oklahoma-raised tax lawyer Janna Little in 2000 and has three children.

But Ryan's childhood was not always easy. His father died when Ryan was just 16 years old.

Indeed Ryan – the youngest of four children – discovered his stricken parent in bed, laid low by a fatal heart attack at just 55.


Read more at the Guardian.