Comments: Running mate Ryan spices up election, spurs economic conversation
Mitt Romney has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
August 13th, 2012
08:03 PM ET

Comments: Running mate Ryan spices up election, spurs economic conversation

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Mitt Romney has announced his pick for running mate in the 2012 election: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Readers have mixed feelings about him, but they've definitely been talking. The next five stories are all about Ryan.

When the news initially broke, many readers argued about what it means. All seemed to agree that the game was suddenly a little more interesting. Several iReporters, like Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, said they felt this choice was the right one.

"As the news began to trickle out late last night, and turn into a cascading waterfall, that House Budget Committee chairman and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan had been selected by Mitt Romney as the person to be his running mate and the next vice president of the United States, I began to read and research all I could on the congressman. That study led me to the conclusion that this morning as Romney was announcing his choice of Ryan, Romney had indeed made the correct decision. That decision puts the question of fiscal responsibility and a right direction for the country squarely on the table."

And Matt Sky  of New York said having Ryan around changes the conversation.

"Adding Paul Ryan to Mitt Romney's ticket changes this election from simply being a referendum on Obama into a core philosophical debate about the differences between conservatism and liberalism. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is an exciting figure for many Republicans, but also represents the core divisions between the parties in a way that could also rally more Democrats behind Obama. We have very articulate, intelligent candidates across the board, so I think we can expect a fascinating, very unique election year, not about personality or popularity points, but one of substance."

On CNN's Facebook page, readers were critical of Ryan's economic vision, which was the subject of an opinion article by Donna Brazile. But some were in support.

Chris Perrin: Ryan's budget would destroy the middle class and the working poor. We would all become serfs to the rich. Now that is class warfare if I've ever seen it.

Colleen Warman Meyer: "Does anyone find it ironic that democrats keep saying Ryan's budget proposal is too radical when the dems in power haven't bothered to even pass a budget in years? I think a little radical is better than nothing. Our national belt has needed a lot of tightening anyway."

Ralph Quaas: All this means is money for Republican pockets and not a dime for seniors and the needy.

Charlotte Booth Davidson: "Can anybody ANYBODY tell me why I should vote for Obama? And not because of Romney/Ryan. Convince me how our country is better off then three years ago?!!! Please!"

Michael Sercu: "Ryan and Romney declared: 'We do not want our kids stuck with trillions of dollars in debt.' The bad news: They want other people's kids stuck with that debt." commenters also had plenty to say.

1. Romney's pick of Ryan as his running mate energizes conservatives, opponents

This reader said they weren't originally planning to vote, but decided to do so. They were one of many who alluded to author Ayn Rand, author of the influential and controversial novel "Atlas Shrugged." Ryan has said conflicting things about his stance on Rand's work.

aabbccddee: "Thanks Romney, by choosing Paul Ryan you helped me to decide that I'm voting for Obama. The last thing we need is a conservative Ayn Randian objectivist in the White House."

THX1953: "Ha! Like your vote wasn't already cast!"

aabbccddee: "It wasn't. I dislike Obama's conservative policies so I was going to sit out this election. To me, Romney and Obama are two of the same. Romney's choice of Ryan has awoken me from my apathy."

Another reader said they were glad that a person with vigor was joining the race.

warrior2007: "I'm glad he picked Ryan. He has the energy and drive to be president in 2020 after two terms with Romney. It's good to see the young on the bottom of the ticket ... It gives energy to this election and the 2016 election, and the drive to run in 2020."

The different sides disagreed about who is happier about Ryan being picked.

25deabril: "As a Democrat, I couldn't be happier with Romney's choice of Ryan. Anyone who pays attention will now see the clear choice that exists. Slashing of programs for those who actually need them and heaping more gravy on the plates of the already bloated ruling class that Mitt holds so dear. The worst kept secret is that tax cuts for the wealthy do not create American jobs. If they did, the economy would be booming. My support for President Obama has been strengthened ten-fold!"

gobnait: "As an involved and engaged independent I couldn't be happier either. The Romney/Ryan ticket is the first real hope for the future of our nation and our children in nearly four years."

So who is Paul Ryan, anyway? That's what a lot of people are wondering.

2. The race to define Paul Ryan

Many readers zeroed in on concerns about the future in evaluating Romney's new running mate.

stormrider2112: "I guess the Romney campaign doesn't care about Florida and Arizona. Arizona might very well become a battleground state with 'secure the border!' and 'don't take my Medicare and Social Security!' "

JW: "Nothing will change with this. The right wing will see him as part of a superhero team with Romney come to save the world from the facisim that is Obama, and the left leaning people, like myself, will vehemently disagree with his right wing views. We are entrenched in two different camps and nothing anyone can say or do will make us go over to the other side or want to communicate or work with the other side in any way. This schism is only going to get worse and worse, not better."

Another cautioned Democrats not to be too quick to bash Ryan.

krehator: "I think attacking Ryan will backfire. He is well liked, even by many Dems. No, keep the pressure on the guy running for President. He is the weak part of this ticket. I think the Dems could capitalize some points by treating Ryan respectfully, and making him look incompatible with Romney, or being used like a pawn to win votes."

Many people have complex views, as indicated in the reaction to opinion writer David Frum's article.

3. Romney did Obama a huge favor

Several said they agreed with Frum, and at the same time were hard on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum.

hedgracer: "All the conservative posters complain here that the liberals (just say Democrats and independents and be done with it) are against everything good for the country. Wrong. Frum is right. I am an independent voter and I have to agree with Frum. Obama was a weak candidate this time and really could not run on his record (of course, neither could Romney). The very last thing I would want to do if I was Romney would be to latch myself to someone in congress as a VP choice. Especially since congress right now has the public rating in the low teens or single digits. Ryan sure is a pretty face but so was Palin in 2008 until the shine wore off and then reality hit and the harsh white spotlight started finding its way home on the Ryan family. Neither candidate wants to run on his record. Ho Hum. Better to pick the devil you know than the devil you don't. I predict that is what its going to come down to in November."

unknown11: "Listening to the left whine about this, it looks to me like the right pick. They are up in arms, which means that they are afraid.

Was it really a favor in disquise?

MikeInSA: "Romney did America a favor. The time for continued can kicking and pretending that the status quo is OK for our collapsing entitlement programs is long past. Ryan will make that clear. Americans deserve to be told the truth which neither Democrats nor progressive Republicans like Frum do. Ryan respects the citizens of this country enough to give them that truth. Those that don't want to hear that truth will not like him. My guess is that a large majority of Americans want to be treated like adults and know the truth even if it's not rosy."

Some said they thought the article was misguided. Others didn't. Again, the Sarah Palin comparisons.

YtownSports: "I wholeheartedy disagree with the headline to this column. I understand how the conclusion was drawn, but Ryan won't get rattled by the Obama Machine hit-and-run tactics. He will drive home a distinct and clear message and force focus on real issues instead of reacting to the distractions on which Romney has wasted so much of his time. That's bad news for the Prez."

Lorelei Blackmon: "Sorry, but the rest of the voters think the title is spot on! I was flabbergasted because I did not think the Romney was in such serious trouble that it had to shoot itself in the foot in this manner. Like McCain's choice four years ago, it will excite the extreme members of the base and cause everyone else to shake their heads and wonder what Romney could have possibly been thinking."

These readers expressed pessimism, and some interesting nicknames.

Phange: "Isn't it amazing that we Democrats are patting ourselves on the back that we can so easily demagogue a man who's actually willing to address a serious fiscal problem, while our own president is not? This is why we're going to lose this election, and why we deserve to."

Winston Smith 3rd: "What a waste of time, GOP or DNC is irrelevant, they are both the same. ORomney or Rombama will bring us more debt, more war, more attacks on our liberties – there isn't a single politician among them that cares about the people or the law."

BHPT: "Mr. Vulture and Mr. Voucher will not help middle class America. A PRESCRIPTION for accelerating concentration of wealth."

The economy and wealth were indeed big talkers on another opinion article by conservative contributor William Bennett, which had a more optimistic take on Ryan.

4. Why Paul Ryan?

Don't begrudge the rich, says this reader.

Karla12: "If I hear anyone else complain about 'rich' people I am going to scream ... those 'rich' people are people who employ me and my husband; they help to put clothes on my kid's backs and food on the table. We work hard and so we aspire to be 'rich' someday. Why is that bad? The more money we make, the more we give to charity and the more we hire others to take on tasks to help with what we don't have time to do ourselves (housekeeping, mowing the yard, etc.). It is a trickle down effect and I don't think anybody should be ashamed of working hard and being successful; this country used to take pride in hard-working Americans, but now we want to demonize them! I can say that most of the people who are 'anti-rich' are people who have little desire to do better for themselves, they are just complacent and waiting for the winning lotto ticket!"

The readers on this story were very complimentary about Ryan.

InDeepEndnt: "While I don't like Romney, I applaud him for choosing someone with an actual, detailed vision, instead of a bunch of talk. It provides a good complement to Romney. It's also refreshing to see someone pick a candidate without bowing to the same old pressure of "diversity". Ryan is firmly on the right, and at least has a backbone."

tinkansas: "A moderate and a conservative on the same ticket is what passes for diversity in the GOP these days."

Leeford68: "I think Ryan was a good choice for Romney. However, I think any boost to base turnout will be tempered by a boost to democrat turnout by those who feel Ryan is a threat to their entitlements. Nost independents will still go with Obama. Focus on the middle class is what the country needs, no matter how slow and painful the recovery is. Independents realize this. And though most independents would welcome cuts in spending, reduced deficits, and entitlement reform, they dont want things turned into voucher programs and hacked to pieces with republican experiments."

eyeopen: "Appears Ryan is firing up the base - of the other party"

Readers frequently used variations of the phrase "firing up the base," and implied that are many ways of looking at Ryan.

5. Paul Ryan a gift to both campaigns

One reader compared Ryan to another previous VP candidate.

DarqueSide: "Paul Ryan is all bright and shiny, youthful and energetic, gets the base all fired up... because the top of the ticket isn't getting the job done. He's an exciting unknown quantity! Sound familiar? It should. He's essentially Sarah Palin without the lipstick. While I believe Ryan's a lot smarter than Palin (and I doubt he'll go 'rogue'), I don't think Ryan can save Romney. The bottom line is Romney's a weak candidate who doesn't resonate with voters even within his own party, let alone independents and conservative Democrats."

Many thought he had an edge over Vice President Joe Biden in a debate scenario.

Daaave: "A gift to both until biteme Biden tries to debate Ryan. Biden will come across as a bitter old man, probably lose his cool and say yet once again something stupid, and then the DNC will pull him from most speaking engagements (just like they did two years ago)."

This person said they think Ryan was a good pick.

HunterPSU: "I am really glad Romney chose Ryan. I was a little worried that he might choose Ryan because Ryan has a paper trail. But if they get the discussion going on entitlement and working together for solutions and loose well likely Romney would have lost with another V.P. pick anyway. At least with Ryan you get a very smart energetic guy that is not afraid to propose solutions. Washington needs more men like Ryan. Many thought B.O. was that kind of man. But we learned even through the healthcare process early on that Harry and Nancy carried most of the load for B.O. Since than B.O. has led on giving away money and pandering to special interest groups. In vogue but not exactly inspiring leadership."

The commenter went on to say ...

HunterPSU: "The democrats are nice people. Most have good hearts. Because they believe they are right they believe that anything goes to win is okay. I can live with that it is part of their genetic makeup. But the nice guys that want to help people seem to not be able to come to grips with the fact that not reforming the entitlements and not improving job creators outlook will lead to worse things for people down the road. A little pain now is better than alot of pain later. I think the genetic do gooder mentality of democrats is a good quality. It is just not good right now. Maybe after the republicans get things going right on entitlements and other wasteful programs in a few years the country will be in a better financial position to help the democrates feel good and we can start expanding the programs again."

What do you think about the day's many news stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Comments • Elections • Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party • Wisconsin
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Great

    I like everything about this guy- I hope someone stands up and takes the fight to this Obuma once and for all. When Romney preaches about how he's taking the high road, well the high road to defeat is not what we need, we need victory- I thought we learned our lesson in 2008. You have to fight the battle on all front, defend yourself -at the same time attack your opponents vulnerabilities with viligance- oh and does Obama have vulnerabilites- all we need is the will to do it. Have my fingers crossed.

    August 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matthew Guidroz

    Truth is almost everyone in Wisconsin does not truly like Paul Ryan. He has tryed to oust Medicare and has made very little good here in the Dairy State. He trys to act like a true Wisconsin person but he mocks that as well making it seem like Wisconsin is made up of all Packers,Cheese,and hunting. And where as in most cases that is true he dosn't express on how Wisconsin is one of the leaders in graduates per capita nope were all drunk hillbilly cheese heads.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe Elliott

    Biden and Obama both are using racial terms , Look at the chains, Than look back at Biden sleeping during a presidental speach to congress and the USA, Look at the negative ads, Look at Ryan a positive and his medicare change is GREAT, I am retired and a veteran and wishi I had a choice, he will give us one, Look at the proken Promises Obama has given us and all he accomplished was building a brewery in the White House, Must be a pretty big drinker to need his own and the tax payer is paying for it and the people he had to hire to run it also, Look at the jobs, What has he done, He says he has created h9obs and yet he does not say how many were lost during the same period, he has promised and yet has not fulfilled those promised, He has brought our country down and continues to blame thers and not stand up for his own responsibilities, Yes he said he would bring our troops home from Afganistan and yet sent more and now has an agreement we will support them until 2024. Look at what they want? Us to leave, He supports Muslim beliefs and yet says he is a Christian, Has be been truthful to any of US and also has his wife, Thank You Joe elliott

    August 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
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