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Three good Paul Ryan reads

August 11, 2012|By Robin Abcarian

U.S. Rep Paul Ryan is young, he comes from Wisconsin and is known for producing a budget that pleases conservatives. But who, exactly, is the 42-year-old guy whom Mitt Romney just picked as running mate?

These three reads will give you a good sense of who Ryan is and why so many conservatives are happy to have him on the ticket.

1. You’ve probably heard about the “Paul Ryan budget.” In March, The Times’ Lisa Mascaro explained what it does.

Mascaro wrote: “House Republicans would slash federal spending, lower tax rates and substantially overhaul Medicare in the 2013 budget unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that offers a do-over of sorts to last year’s blueprint that left the party in political trouble.

Democrats are poised to attack the GOP plan as one that would destroy the Medicare safety net for seniors and renege on an earlier agreement over government spending levels made between Congress and the White House last summer.

Photos: Paul Ryan announced as Romney's running mate

But GOP leaders believe their approach will provide a contrast with President Obama and give voters a defining choice in this election as the party seeks to show it is seriously handling the nation’s debt and deficit problems.

"Like last year’s budget, it seeks to guide the nation’s policies by those principles, freeing it from the crushing burden of debt now threatening its future," Ryan wrote in the document released by the chairman of the Budget Committee.”

2. After spending time with Ryan, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza discovered a genial if frustrated idealist who spent years in the trenches of the House of Representatives, going along and getting along before an epiphany in 2009 set him free:

Here’s what Lizza wrote: “Ryan won his seat in 1998, at the age of twenty-eight. Like many young conservatives, he is embarrassed by the Bush years. At the time, as a junior member with little clout, Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits: sweeping tax cuts, a costly prescription-drug entitlement for Medicare, two wars, the multibillion-dollar bank-bailout legislation known as TARP. In all, five trillion dollars was added to the national debt. In 2006 and 2008, many of Ryan’s older Republican colleagues were thrown out of office as a result of lobbying scandals and overspending. Ryan told me recently that, as a fiscal conservative, he was “miserable during the last majority” and is determined ‘to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.’ ”

3. In April, after Romney won the Wisconsin primary, the Washington Post’s Phil Rucker noticed the two men seemed to have that elusive thing that makes for a good ticket: chemistry.

Photos: Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan

Here’s what Rucker wrote: “The business marketer noticed how plainly they talked about the nation’s mounting deficit problems. The boat parts supplier came away convinced that together they could fix the economy. The pharmacy clerk, well, she observed how when each of them spoke, the other was smiling — a kind of respectful smile.

And after seeing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan trade compliments, banter about the Boy Scouts and take turns talking taxes and debt, these three Wisconsin Republican voters arrived at the same conclusion: This could be the ticket.”

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robin.abcarian@latimes.com

Twitter: @robinabcarian

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