It’s as good as official: Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney’s running mate, the Romney campaign announced early Saturday.
National news sites broke the news just before midnight on Friday night, ending weeks of speculation and propelling Wisconsin into the heart of the presidential campaign.
Shortly before midnight, CNN was reporting that three sources had confirmed that the Janesville congressman, 42, was the VP pick of the Republican Romney. News that Romney’s campaign was announcing its VP selection on Saturday in Virginia broke widely late Friday.
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Romney is to make the announcement early Saturday morning in Virginia, kicking off a four-state tour in his bid to unseat incumbent Barack Obama.
The Huffington Post summed it up with one big red headline that trumpeted that the pick was “RYAN”. Even before 1 a.m., the story had generated more than 9,000 comments. By 2 a.m. Saturday, the website romneyryan.com, paid for and authorized by Romney for president, was already up and active and NBC and other news sites were also reporting the pick was Ryan.
Speculation that the pick would be Wisconsin Republican Rep. Ryan swirled on social media and national news sites as clues piled up. For example, it was reported by conservative site "National Review" that a plane that might be a Romney charter was spotted in Janesville and many media sites stated that Romney would be announcing his vice presidential choice in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin.
Ryan attended the Sikh visitation services in Oak Creek, Wis., earlier Friday, viewing the bodies of the deceased with Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg. Tagg Romney tweeted about accompanying Ryan to the visitation later Friday. Tagg Romney wrote on Twitter Friday: “In Milwaukee today along w #RepPaulRyanand #GovWalker to represent my family and offer condolences to the Sikh community.”
Various news outlets also reported that other top candidates – such as Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – were out. The New York Times was more cautious, still reporting early Saturday only that “a confidant of Mr. Ryan’s confirmed early Saturday that aides believed Mr. Romney had settled on the Wisconsin congressman to join the Republican ticket, but all advisers had been sworn to secrecy. Three senior Republican officials said that they, too, believed that Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, had emerged as the top choice.” Fox News also at 1 a.m. was still saying it could not independently confirm the pick.
The Washington Post already had a graphic on its site entitled, '5 things you didn’t know about Paul Ryan' by early Saturday. They included, “Ryan is from Janesville, Wis., where in 1884 his great-grandfather started a family construction firm, which is still run by his cousins today.” Another factoid: Ryan drove the Oscar Mayer weinermobile in college. Ryan’s first political job was with Jack Kemp in 1991 at a conservative organization.
By midnight, national cable news media was reporting the Ryan choice as a fact, and soon local news media was too. Ryan’s facebook page bio says he is a fifth generation resident of Janesville. He is chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is married to Janna; the couple has three children. Pundits on cable news debated the Ryan pick, including Ryan's controversial proposals on Medicare.
CNN: “Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is Mitt Romney’s running mate pick, three Republican sources told CNN.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Several national news outlets, including The Associated Press reported late Friday night that Mitt Romney has chosen 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) as his running mate.” In addition, the paper's Facebook page indicated that they were reworking their front page in anticipation of the news.