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When Paul Ryan was selected by Mitt Romney to be his running mate, it was seen as a roll of the dice or a Hail Mary pass that was needed to get the GOP candidate back in the race.But with just a few weeks to go, Ryan has emerged as an ingenious pick.
Two new articles today really underscore that point.
The first is from Molly Ball at The Atlantic, who notes that Democrats can’t get any traction on the Mediscare, push-granny-off-the-cliff stuff because Ryan is so darn likable.
I thought Paul Ryan came out looking very responsible and intelligent, and personally I did not think the vice president did,” said Susan Seifert, a 65-year-old retired housewife who lives on a farm in rural Ohio and brought her 16-year-old granddaughter here to see Ryan and Romney the day after the debate. Given the way he acted, she said — “all that smirking and grinning” — Biden “doesn’t seem to be taking the country very seriously.”
Several older women I met at the rally put it in similar terms: Ryan, 42, struck them as a nice young man, Biden, 69, a grating boor. Some Republicans might have wished Ryan pushed back harder against Biden’s aggressive assault, but these ladies appreciate that he minded his manners.
And from a pure electoral mathematics standpoint, William Galston at TNR explains how Wisconsin is emerging as a key Romney “escape hatch” that could let him sneak a victory, even if he loses Ohio.
History suggests that if vice-presidential candidates matter anywhere, it’s in their home states. If I were Romney’s campaign manager, I would tell Ryan to spend most of the next three weeks—morning, noon, and night—visiting every city, town, and hamlet in Wisconsin. And if my internal polls had Obama’s margin down to (say) one point with three or four days until the election, I would schedule one or two big Romney rallies to maximise enthusiasm and turnout.
Wisconsin matters because it could reduce the pressure on Romney to draw to an inside straight. Carrying Wisconsin wouldn’t fully compensate for losing Ohio, of course. But added to Romney’s base of 235 electoral votes, Wisconsin plus Virginia would bring him to 258, at which point Colorado plus any one of the three smallest swing states–New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada– would put him over the top. So would winning Iowa and Nevada, even without Colorado.
Mitt Romney has moved Wisconsin into the toss-up category. If the state proves decisive on a night when Ohio goes Obama, it will be a massive vindication of the Ryan pick.
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