NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate.
The candidate made his announcement to supporters via a phone app, saying -- quote -- "Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan." The GOP ticket appeared together at 9 a.m. Eastern in Norfolk, Va.
Ryan is best known as the chairman of the House Budget Committee and author of a dramatic plan to overhaul Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for senior citizens.
With Ryan as his running mate, Romney appears ready to have a national conversation about federal spending and the growth of entitlements with one of the GOP's leading budget authorities at his side.
Ryan, a House member since 1999, has proposed to dramatically change the programs that have been a hallmark of the nation's compact to provide health care to senior citizens and the poor
His goal, he said, was to leave "a debt-free nation" to the next generation. "At stake is America," he said last year.
Ryan's budget plan has been widely criticized by President Obama and his fellow Democrats, who contend it would end Medicare as we know it. Obama has called Ryan's plan "thinly veiled social Darwinism."
At 42, Ryan is a generation younger than the 65-year-old Romney.
With much speculation focused on Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and ex-Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Ryan got a big boost from conservatives this week.
The Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page holds sway among conservatives, said choosing Ryan, author of a dramatic plan to overhaul the federal budget, would underscore "the nature and stakes of this election."
"More than any other politician, the House Budget Chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline," the Journal editorial said.
Norfolk is the first stop in a four day bus tour of swing states that will also include North Carolina, Florida and Ohio. Romney will be discussing his economic plan.