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Published: Sunday, 8/12/2012

Toledo-area reactions to Ryan split on party lines

Republicans cheer, Democrats criticize


Local Republican figures expressed excitement about presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice as running mate, but the selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has others concerned.

Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, called the announcement "big news."

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"Congressman Paul Ryan is the face of the new GOP," he said, noting that the Wisconsin representative is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. "You've got Mitt Romney, who appeals to the working-class male, that dynamic, and [Mr. Ryan] brings in a younger dynamic, the independents, undecided, and women."

"He is the fiscal conservative base," Mr. Stainbrook said. "He's the money man, the budget man who can fix this broken economy."

In a statement distributed Saturday, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern spoke harshly about the congressman's past and his relationship with Gov. John Kaich.

Calling Mr. Ryan "[John] Kasich's understudy," Mr. Redfern said the congressman has proposed "a radical, ideological budget that would end Medicare as we know it."

"Today, we'll learn a lot of things about Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan," he said.

"But one story you likely won't hear is about Ryan's start in politics, as a young staffer … working for then-Congressman John Kasich's Budget Committee. Ryan cut his teeth … helping him slash programs for working families, grinding progress to a halt, and laying the groundwork to shut down the federal government."

Jim Ruvolo, political consultant and former Lucas County and Ohio Democratic chairman, said Mr. Ryan is "a terrible choice." He disagreed that Mr. Ryan would attract moderates. "I'm a little surprised. I thought he'd try [Ohio Sen. Rob] Portman or [former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty. … they are moderate," Mr. Ruvolo said.

"But it's a question of 'Who are you trying to reach?' The partisans have made up their minds, so this is to attract the independents and the moderates and [Mr. Ryan] doesn't do that," he said. "He's an ideologue in the right wing."

Local Tea Party member Donald Iiams said he has some concerns about Mr. Ryan's stance on Medicare and Medicaid but overall, he believes the Wisconsin lawmaker will be a positive addition to the GOP ticket.

"He's known for his fiscal conservatism and his honesty. He's known for honesty and that means a lot to me," he said. "I don't always have to agree with him but at least I believe what he says."

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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