As reaction to Mitt Romney's running mate saturated media outlets Saturday, local political observers questioned what a Romney-Ryan ticket means for New Hampshire, a swing state.
Paul Ryan will energize some conservatives, but he is largely unknown, said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.
"Overall," Scala said, "this pick doesn't move the needle here."
Republicans in the Granite State praised the choice, saying it would reinforce Romney's credentials among conservatives. Democrats took aim at Ryan's budget initiatives, and labeled him an enemy of the middle class.
Romney announced Saturday morning that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will be his vice presidential running mate.
Ryan, who is in his seventh term in Congress, serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. He is seen as a Tea Party favorite who could help solidify Romney's conservative credentials.
Ryan is the architect of "A Roadmap for America's Future," a budget proposal touted by Ryan as "an alternative" to President Obama's plan for economic recovery. Follow the link above, or read it right here – we've uploaded the pdf here for you. For a biographical rundown on Ryan, click here for a link to his official site.
Here is a sampling of reaction from New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats, political observers and local residents:
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who was on Romney's shortlist, hailed the choice. "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put America back on a path to prosperity by reforming government, enacting real deficit reduction, and overhauling the tax code to spur economic growth," Ayotte said. "America needs a Romney-Ryan administration to get our fiscal house in order and put Americans back to work."
Former state Rep. Fran Wendelboe, R-New Hampton, called Ryan "a bold pick" who will "solidify the conservative base and the Tea Party activists – here in NH and across the country... This country wants fiscal responsibility and to move forward on jobs and the economy. Ryan is a perfect pick for that agenda."
Former state Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, said with the Ryan pick, "Romney has solidified his right-wing pro-super conservative credentials, making it much more difficult to sound reasonable and responsible to the core of middle America." He said that will help him with Tea Partiers and Bill O'Brien supporters in New Hampshire, but he thinks it will hurt him with other voters.
"A few weeks ago I projected dramatic success in November for Democrats in Concord and Washington," Splaine said. "Romney's pick gives me even more confidence in my estimates."
Stephen Poschmann, a Bedford Republican and blogger, offered this take:
"Short term, the Ryan pick puts the focus on Romney for the next few news cycles, so he’d better use it wisely. Long term, I don’t think Ryan was any worse or better than a couple of the other top contenders like Portman and Pawlenty. Pluses: Ryan is young, a smart numbers guy and a conservative favorite. The liability with Ryan is the Democrats have already begun demonizing him and his plan as a way to exterminate grannies across the country. (Ironically it is Obamacare that will be instituting health care rationing and pushing out necessary health screenings, but that is another topic which you can read on my Patch blog.) So Romney had better have a counter-argument. As usual, in the end the choice for VP will likely have zero net effect in what happens in November."
Former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat running again for the 1st District, zeroed in on the Ryan budget.
“While voting for all of the Bush era big spending, Congressman Paul Ryan tried to privatize Social Security. This Congress, he proposed to privatize Medicare, give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest, and to cut programs such as Meals on Wheels and student aid. Congressman Frank Guinta voted along with him on all the drastic budget cuts that targeted the middle class, and New Hampshire voters will reject their agenda in November.”
Wayne MacDonald, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, called Ryan as a bold congressman and choice. "Our country has a president right now who has been leading the nation in the wrong direction on spending, taxes, and growth of government," MacDonald said. "As 'America's Comeback Team' the Romney, Ryan ticket will turn the attention to job creation and balancing the budget. The American people deserve a ticket that is serious about fixing our fiscal mess, turning around the economy, and bringing our country back on the path to prosperity.
Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer also praised the selection.
"We have been polling our members for the last couple of months, and Paul Ryan, along with Senator Marco Rubio, have had the strongest support from Tea Party Express supporters across the country," he said. "Ryan is a strong fiscal conservative, and he has used his Chairmanship of the House Budget Committee to address the serious financial woes facing the country."
Jim Messina, campaign manager for Obama, issued this statement:
“In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. 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. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.”
Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, weighed in on what it means for a battleground state like New Hampshire. His immediate reaction:
"Paul Ryan is nowhere near a household name in New Hampshire. It's a choice that will excite some Republican elites in the state because Ryan is viewed as a brainy young conservative, the next generation of the GOP. Perhaps it generates a little excitement here among conservatives who are ambivalent, borderline apathetic, toward Romney. But overall, this pick doesn't move the needle here."
Ovide Lamontagne, a Republican candidate for New Hampshire governor, said Ryan has the right mix of experience, leadership and vision.
"The election in November is about our economy and the future of our country and our state. We need experienced, conservative leadership to move us in a new direction towards a new era of prosperity, beyond the failed policies of the Obama Administration and liberals in Concord. I am excited to see Rep. Ryan join Governor Romney as a part of America's Comeback Team, and with the support of voters in September, I look forward to running alongside them in New Hampshire this fall."
Raymond Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, issued a statement:
"Mitt Romney has picked a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to putting tax breaks for the wealthiest before middle-class families. The radical Ryan budget plan -supported by Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta - would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system and adding thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors, in order to pay for new tax cuts for the richest Americans.
New Hampshire blogger William Smith:
"I think Paul Ryan is a solid pick for Romney, especially when many on the right have held up Ryan's economic model as their standard. He's conservative enough to make the people not completely sold on Romney breathe a little easier. Kelly Ayotte is best used as Attorney General, in my opinion. She's not ready to be Vice President and it would be better to put her in a slot where she has an established background."
U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) issued this statement:
"The selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as Governor Romney's Vice-Presidential running mate brings even more energy, courage and understanding of what it will take to turn this economy around and get our country moving forward again. Paul Ryan brings a proven track record of offering real ideas on how to solve the challenges facing our nation, as opposed to just political talking points and scare tactics of which the American people have grown disgusted. We know our nation is at a crossroads and it will take real leadership, real ideas and the ability to work together to get us back on track - ideals that are embodied by the Romney-Ryan ticket."
Salem resident and Romney supporter Jeff Hatch had this to say:
"Once again Governor Mitt Romney demonstrates why he's the right choice to lead America out of bad economic hole and into the future. We've all heard the the phrase that Great leaders surround themselves with great people. Romney's pick for VP, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is one of those great people. Congressman Ryan has served for 7 terms and is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. So there's doubt that Congressman Ryan is a numbers guy and a fiscal conservative. This selection will solidify the party and demonstrates that Gov Romney plans surround himself with great people that will put America first by getting Government spending under control and returning Americans back to work."
What's your take on Romney's pick for vice president?