Ryan says no VP talk with Romney; UWM prof predicts Walker instead
WASHINGTON - A leading House Republican said Tuesday he hasn't had a discussion with Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney about taking the No. 2 spot on the ticket this fall, while a leading political expert in Milwaukee believes Wisconsin's governor will be the man for that role.
Wisconsin's Congressman Paul Ryan said the subject hasn't come up, but said he enjoys working with the former Massachusetts governor, whom he has endorsed.
But on the matter of joining Romney on the ticket, Ryan told NBC's "Today" show that he hasn't "given enough thought to that question."
"I think he still has to go through the process of nailing it down. He still has opponents," Ryan said.
He suggested that Romney is miscast politically because he served as governor of Massachusetts, a state with a liberal tradition, saying, "he reminds me of a sort of earnest, upper Midwest person." Ryan said that Romney "has the principles, the skills, the skills" to govern the country and put the economy on a stronger footing.
UWM government affairs professor Mordecai Lee says there's a reason Ryan shies away from the question involving a possible role as a running mate for Mitt Romney.
"He loves his job," said Professor Lee.
"He loves being the chair of the budget committee. He's a player."
Instead, Lee thinks Romney's eye is on a different Wisconsin conservative.
"I've actually predicted that Scott Walker is going to be the running mate to Romney because Walker is a perfect balance to the ticket, and because Walker has become the symbol, the hero to grassroots Republicans."
A spokesman for Walker sent this response: "Governor Walker is solely focused on winning reelection on June 5 so he can continue to keep his promises to the people of Wisconsin and move our state forward."
In a separate interview on MSNBC, Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, accused President Barack Obama of "putting us on the path to a debt crisis."
Ryan said the budget House Republicans are proposing would spare people 55 and over from cuts in programs like Medicare.
"The question is, do we reform these benefit programs ... or do we kick the can down the road," the Wisconsin Republican added.