Romney VP Pick Paul Ryan Energizes GOP Base

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GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan are hot on the campaign trail Monday, drawing big crowds and energizing the Republican base.

"If you follow the campaign of Barack Obama, he's going to do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest, negative campaign in history," Romney said, as he and Ryan faced a crowd of 10,000 supporters in Wisconsin. "We're not going to let that happen."

"This is going to be a campaign about ideas, about the future of America," he said.

It's the Economy, Stupid

From the day he launched his campaign for president, Romney has focused on the economy. Consequently it makes sense that he's picked a numbers guy to join his offensive.

"Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem and Mitt Romney is the solution," Ryan told a Norfolk, Va., audience Saturday after being introduced as Romney's running mate.

With the Wisconsin lawmaker on the ticket, the election has becomes about more than the economy. Now it is also looking at the bigger picture of government overspending.

Click play to watch the updated report with CBN News White House Correspondent Jennifer Wishon, followed by analysis from Charles Dunn, distinguished professor of goverment at Regent University.

In March 2011, Ryan told CBN News America's debt problem threatens the future of the economy and Americans' standard of living.

Medicare is the biggest reason the federal deficit has exploded. The real cost of the program has risen roughly 300 percent, compared to the economy, since 1970.

Medicare spending will grow much faster in the years ahead, adding even more to the federal, debt unless something is done. Ryan has promised to do something about that.

"We won't duck the tough issues. We will lead," Ryan vowed.

Gerson Moreno-Riano is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Regent University and an associate professor of government. Watch his comments below on whether Ryan will help or hurt the GOP ticket.

Ryan isn't alone. Other politicians like former President Bill Clinton are also aware the program needs to change.

In a behind-the-scenes exchange with Ryan at a 2011 fiscal summit, Clinton said, "I hope the Democrats don't use it as an excuse to do nothing on Medicare."

Ryan said he wants to lower costs by helping to get the free markets involved. He said his Medicare reform plan wouldn't affect current seniors and would give more choices to people who start to use the program in the future.

Dems Target Ryan

But Democrats are painting Ryan's ideas as extreme, and President Obama himself said he has an opposing vision for the country.

"He is an articulate spokesman for Gov. Romney's vision, but it's a vision I fundamentally disagree with," Obama said.

Ryan introduced his Medicare plan with a Democratic co-sponsor. Other Democrats have supported similar ideas in the past.

Still, politically, Democrats are working to make Ryan appear scary to older voters.

"It's a pick that is meant to thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party, but it's one that should trouble everybody else, the middle class, seniors, students, you know because of Ryan's record. I mean, he is a right-wing ideologue," Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said.

Ryan, who's Roman Catholic, said his faith helped shape his views on federal spending.

"Those principles are very, very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don't keep people poor, don't make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life," he explained.

"Help people get out of poverty, out onto a life of independence," he said.

Even though his district voted for Obama in 2008, Ryan was easily re-elected with 65 percent. He's been elected seven times.

In the first 24 hours after he was added to the GOP ticket, enthusiastic donors sent in three and a half million dollars.

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