SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The vice presidential pick is in.
The presumptive Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney, officially introduced Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday morning in Virginia.
South Dakota senator John Thune was once thought to be on Romney's short list of VP candidates. On Saturday, Thune gave his thoughts on Ryan, the election, and how seriously the Romney campaign considered him for the nation's number two seat.
Ironically enough, Ryan was introduced as Romney's running mate in front of the de-commissioned U.S.S. Wisconsin. And Thune believes Ryan is the man to help right the ship in America.
"You can have conservative positions, but present them in a way that sort of alienates people," Thune said. "And I think the way he presents his positions attracts people."
Thune and Ryan have known each other for years. In fact, they recently worked on respective versions of a transparency bill that was just signed into law earlier this week. Thune believes Ryan's youth and intelligence will be assets on the Republican ticket.
"He's a very quick study. He learned things quickly," Thune said. "He was a real student of not only the process, but also the minutia of policy."
Before Saturday's announcement, Ryan was known mostly for his position on the federal budget. His controversial plan, which passed the House, but failed in the Senate each of the past two years, tried to put forward trillions of dollars in cuts and change how Medicare operates. It drew the ire of Democrats, but Thune believes, in conjunction with Romney's own budget, the economy will be a strong selling point.
"That's been his niche in Congress," Thune said. "That's how he's defined himself. And I think that's a portfolio that he can bring to the ticket that really bolsters Mitt Romney's credentials."
As for his own personal credentials, Thune admitted there were talks about him being the second name on that Republican ticket, but nothing ever came of it.
"We had some contact with the campaign earlier on, but I think as the list started to narrow, there were probably a handful of people," Thune said. "And it became clear to us they were starting to move in a different direction."
But he believes Ryan is a strong choice that can potentially give Republicans the White House once again.
"There's nobody that's a perfect candidate," Thune said. "Democrats are going to attack the Ryan budget. But I think, at the end of the day, what it does do is show we're serious about solving the country's problems."
Thune will be making campaign stops for the Romney-Ryan ticket over the next couple of weeks.
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