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Mitt Romney Announces His Running Mate


This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's choice to be the next vice president. Mitt Romney's campaign made the announcement earlier this morning, calling the ticket America's Comeback Team. Romney and Ryan are expected to appear together, for the first time as a ticket, at an event in Virginia later this morning. And we will be broadcasting that event when it happens.

But for more on the choice, we're joined by NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is with the Romney campaign. Good morning, Ari.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hi, Linda. We're just in line waiting to get into the motorcade to head to this event here in Norfolk.

WERTHEIMER: Now, these scenes - set the scene for us. As is going to be quite a, I guess, a made-for-TV kind of an announcement.

SHAPIRO: Totally. It's going to be aboard a ship called the USS Wisconsin - perhaps a coincidence that Paul Ryan represents the State of Wisconsin in the House of Representatives. As you say, the comeback team, the two of them are going to appear for the first time as the ticket together, having campaigned quite a lot earlier together in the process, especially in the Wisconsin primaries, where they just had a great rapport - better, in many people's opinion, than any of the other surrogates.

So these are two guys who get along really well, who see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, and who are already just starting to generate a lot of enthusiasm that was, frankly, kind of lacking in parts of the Republican Party.

WERTHEIMER: Do you know how this decision was made, why Mr. Romney was so silent for so long and then finally said, OK, it's Paul Ryan?

SHAPIRO: Well, that's the way it typically works. But we do know that he was, up to the last minute, vetting a few possible options. And interestingly, these options are sort of often divided into two categories: The safe which is Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Rob Portman of Ohio, and then the bold, which might be Marco Rubio of Florida, Chris Christie of New Jersey. And Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is sort of in that bold category.

But, you know, the opposite of safe is bold. The opposite of safe can also be risky. And as excited as parts of the Republican base are about Paul Ryan, parts of the Democratic base are also really excited about being (technical difficulties) Romney, through proposals that Paul Ryan is made in the House that have been very controversial.

WERTHEIMER: So he may add a little pizzazz to this campaign on both sides.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, you know, this campaign recently has been about gaffs, has been about negative ads. And I think everybody is expecting a new chapter to start today that is much more about substance, about the kind of budgetary policy proposals that Paul Ryan has put forward that Mitt Romney has endorsed, that a lot of the Republican establishment embraces, but that is worrisome to some swing voters and that Democrats are more than eager to think their teeth into.

WERTHEIMER: Now, they're going to go on a four-day bus tour. Are they both going to go to all the places that are listed on this swing-state tour?

SHAPIRO: We've been asking about that, and we don't have an answer to that just yet. But as you say, it's a four-day, swing-state bus tour. Today it's Virginia. Tomorrow it's North Carolina. After that comes Florida and Ohio. This bus tour was laid out before we had any idea that today would be the vice presidential announcement.

In fact, the event aboard the USS Wisconsin was planned in advance. And we knew we were going to be aboard the USS Wisconsin this morning. We just didn't know until late last night that it was going to be a rollout of the vice president, who is from Wisconsin.


WERTHEIMER: What do you think about the way the news did sort of dribble out? We heard about it last night. After so much secrecy, we finally heard that name: Paul Ryan.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, it was certainly not the way that the Romney campaign intended. They rolled out an app with great fanfare: "Be the First to Know." Last night, at about 11:30, we got word that that there was going to be a vice president named today. A couple hours after that, people started confirming it was Paul Ryan. And then this morning, just, you know, less than an hour ago, the app finally said: Oh yeah, by the way, it's Paul Ryan.


WERTHEIMER: Thank you very much, Ari. We will be waiting for the event to happen. And when it does, we will be broadcasting it, and Ari will be covering it.

SHAPIRO: Talk to you soon, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: NPR's Ari Shapiro. He's traveling with the Romney campaign, now the Romney-Ryan campaign in Virginia. Ari, thank you.

SHAPIRO: Bye-bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.