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Could McCain pick Ryan to be his VP?

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JAMES P. LEUTE
February 18, 2008
— Rep. Paul Ryan as a running mate for Sen. John McCain?

Conservative television commentator and syndicated columnist Robert Novak named Ryan as a possible vice presidential candidate Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”


When asked by host Tim Russert for McCain’s possible choice, Novak offered two names, both of which he admitted were not on the “A-list.”


The first was Rob Portman, a former congressman and U.S. trade representative from Ohio.


“Another one would be a younger congressman, (the) ranking Republican on the Budget Committee and a tax cutter, Paul Ryan,” Novak said. “Somebody like that who would, who would be younger than McCain, which isn’t hard to find, and, and somebody who would be much more regular on taxes than McCain has been.”


Neither the Janesville-native Ryan nor anyone else on his staff could be reached for comment this morning. His office was closed for Presidents Day.


Until Sunday, Ryan hasn’t made the short lists of vice presidential candidates circulating among political pundits.


But Ryan might fit some of the criteria that Republican activists have laid out for McCain’s choice. Whether Ryan would help shore up support from conservatives is open for debate, but as an up-and-comer at age 38, he’d balance out the age issue for McCain, who if elected would be 72 on Inauguration Day.


Retired UW-Whitewater political scientist John Kozlowicz doesn’t buy either argument.


“I really don’t think Ryan would be seen as strong enough among the conservatives,” Kozlowicz said. “And because he’s so young-looking, it would look like McCain is campaigning with his grandson, which would exaggerate the age difference.”


Kozlowicz said McCain probably would be better served by choosing a governor as his running mate.


“He needs someone who has that administrative experience,” Kozlowicz said. “In many ways, Ryan is a legislator just like McCain is.”



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