Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee made the announcement Saturday morning in Norfolk, Virginia in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin museum.
Ryan, 42, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1999. He is currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan is married with three children.
Ryan is perhaps best known nationally as the author of a controversial budget plan to overhaul Medicare. The plan seeks to curb overall entitlement spending and changes Medicaid into a voucher-like system. He has also called for making changes to Medicaid and privatizing part of Social Security.
While word of Ryan's selection leaked late Friday night, it was posted by the campaign to its smartphone app before the speeches. President Barack Obama's campaign withheld its reaction until the Republicans had spoken.
"The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid," Jim Messina, the president's campaign manager, said in a written statement.
Ryan's budget plan has been widely criticized by President Obama and Democrats as changing Medicare as it has been known since 1965. The president has called Ryan's plan "social Darwinism."
Most Republicans reacted positvely to the announcement.
"Paul Ryan's selection as Mitt Romney's running mate is great news for America and for great news for Kansas," Gov. Brownback said in a statement Saturday morning. "I couldn't be happier or more excited for Paul, Janna and their family. Paul has the vision, experience and character to help bring America back." Ryan served on Gov. Brownback's staff in the mid-90's when Brownback was in the U.S. House.
The selection of Ryan links Romney directly with House Republicans, including no-compromise tea partyers who have pressed for deep spending cuts and no new sources of revenue.
At the same time, Ryan on the ticket could help Romney become more competitive in Wisconsin, a state Obama won handily four years ago. However, Ryan has never run statewide in his homestate.
The newly-minted Republican ticket is beginning a four-day bus tour through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio. President Obama won all four states in 2008.
Romney's choice also comes as he tries to repair an image damaged by negative advertising and shift the trajectory of a campaign that's seen him lose ground to President Obama in recent polls.
Ryan's selection — as well as Romney's own nomination — will be ratified by delegates to the Republican National Convention that begins on Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla.
Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden will be nominated for a second term at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina the following week.
*Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.