Romney and Ryan's father and son act wows voters
Mitt Romney is more human and paternalistic now he has a running mate his son’s age
THE REPUBLICAN candidate Mitt Romney has appeared almost human since presenting congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate last Saturday.
Buoyed up by his paternalistic infatuation with Ryan, Romney beams when Ryan takes to the podium, and has adopted a new habit of thumbs-up signs and high-fives.
Crowds swelled to levels never before attained by Romney: 5,000 for their joint appearances in Virginia and North Carolina; 10,000 in Wisconsin.
At every campaign stop, Romney (65) repeats that Ryan’s father died when he was only 16, which “forced him to grow up earlier than any young man should”. Ryan (42) is the same age as Romney’s oldest son Tagg.
The Romney campaign calls the trans-generational pair “America’s comeback team”. At a rally in Waukesha, 60 miles from his home in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Sunday night, Ryan cried, said, “Hi Mom,” and delivered the kind of aw-shucks homage to his home state that Romney never quite manages to carry off.
“My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, and a little Spotted Cow, Leinie’s and some Miller,” Ryan said to cheers, referring to Wisconsin’s favourite foods and beers. “I was raised on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers,” he said of the state’s sports teams.
Romney and Ryan parted to campaign separately yesterday but will be reunited at the Republican convention in Tampa two weeks from now. Romney dispatched Ryan to Iowa in the hope he’d steal some of the limelight from President Barack Obama’s three-day bus tour there, strengthening the impression that whatever brains, backbone and energy exist in the Romney campaign are concentrated in the vice-presidential hopeful. Obama called Ryan the “ideological leader” of Republicans at a fundraiser in Chicago on Sunday.
Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod said he remembered the “same kind of excitement” four years ago. “When John McCain appointed Sarah Palin, as well, there were huge crowds, much of the same kind of reaction, and I don’t think it worked out very well,” Axelrod told CBS News.
Calling Ryan a “certifiable right-wing ideologue”, he said his candidacy “thrilled the base of the party, the Tea Party Republicans and the social conservatives” but predicted that “when the reality catches up with the moment, it’s not going to be a plus for Governor Romney.”
Candidates who attack government “entitlements” in election years tend to lose voters, which is why Romney does not want to be too closely identified with Ryan’s austerity recipes.