Mitt Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination in May. Since then, speculation has run wild as to who would be his running mate. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were all considered leading candidates.
But this weekend, Romney finally made it official — none of the above.
At a campaign event in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, Romney introduced congressman Paul Ryan as his choice for Vice President.
"Today we take another step forward to restore the promise of America," Romney said. "Paul and I are beginning on a journey that will take us to every corner of America. We are offering a positive, governing agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity, and that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens."
Romney's choice of Ryan wasn't surprising. He was also on the short-list of candidates, and numerous conservative pundits encouraged Romney to add Ryan to the ticket.
Ryan has also campaigned heavily for Romney over the course of the 2012 campaign. He has appeared with the Republican nominee on several occasions, and he has held his own events in support of Romney, too.
"America is on the wrong track, but Mitt Romney and I will take the right steps, in the right time, to get us back on the right track," Paul said after being introduced on Saturday. "I'm excited for what lies ahead and I'm thrilled to be a part of America's Comeback Team."
WHO IS PAUL RYAN?
Ryan is a 42-year-old United States Representative from Wisconsin. He has served in the House of Representatives since 1999. He's the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a key player in drafting several of the Republican Party’s long-term budget proposals.
He is the first Representative to be on a presidential ticket in nearly 30 years. The last time a Representative was elected Vice President was 1932.
Ryan made national news last April when he unveiled his plan to balance the federal budget and reduce the nation's debt.
The proposal, called the "Path to Prosperity," has made Ryan a star among Republicans and conservatives. But Democrats have held the Ryan plan up as the wrong choice for the American economy. According to the Wall Street Journal, among the proposals in Ryan's budget are: cutting trillions of dollars of spending, lowering corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent, and introducing sweeping changes to Medicare and Medicaid.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, both Romney and President Barack Obama have highlighted Ryan's "Path to Prosperity." Romney says it's the roadmap for America's future, and he will sign it into law immediately upon taking the Oath of Office. Obama, meanwhile, says it's absolutely the wrong direction for the country and he would not sign it into law.
With the selection of Ryan as Romney's running mate, the Ryan budget plan will only take on greater importance as the presidential campaign nears Election Day on November 6.
REACTIONS FROM BOTH SIDES
After Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, Republicans were quick to applaud the choice.
"This is a strong pick," former President George W. Bush said. "Governor Romney is serious about confronting the long-term challenges facing America, and Paul Ryan will help him solve the difficult issues that must be addressed for future generations."
"Throughout his life, Mitt Romney has made great decisions, and choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is a truly inspired choice," Florida Senator Marco Rubio added.
Democrats also weighed in on the pick.
“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,” Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager, said.
"If there ever was a question about what this election is about, today's announcement answers it," Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist, added. "Throughout this campaign, Mitt Romney has lacked a clear vision. Now he's embraced a radical ideologue with a dangerous one."
With the Republican ticket set, the next stop on the campaign trail for Romney and Ryan is the Republican National Convention. The convention opens on August 27 in Tampa, Florida.
But over the next few months leading up to the general election, Romney’s pick for Vice President will bring both new energy and new topics of debate to this exciting Presidential race.