Aug 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Saturday that he has selected Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.
Below are some facts about Ryan.
- Ryan, 42, a rising star among the populist Tea Party movement and fiscal conservatives who dominate the Republican Party, has served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives since first being elected in 1998.
- Ryan attracted attention when, as chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, offered a controversial plan in January 2010 to reform the tax code and eliminate the federal deficit. The plan relies on tax cuts and would minimize federal spending while drastically overhauling Medicare, the popular government-run health program for the elderly.
- Romney endorsed that plan during the primaries, and by adding the Wisconsin congressman to the ticket, he makes the document the centerpiece of his run for the White House and raises the possibility that much of the campaign debate will be about spending, deficits and Medicare, rather than job creation.
- Ryan could help Romney gain ground in his home state of Wisconsin, a battleground state that seems to be leaning toward Obama after a polarizing battle over the unsuccessful recall of the state's Republican Governor Scott Walker.
But because of Ryan's plan to cut Medicare, Romney also runs the risk of alienating seniors, a group that has narrowly backed Republicans in recent elections.
- Before being elected to Congress, Ryan was an aide to conservative U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and has worked with U.S. Senator Robert Kasten of Wisconsin. Ryan also worked for former New York congressman and one-time Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp. These experiences make him a creature of Congress - a political body that has become increasingly unpopular among voters in recent years.
- Ryan is a fifth-generation Wisconsin resident. He grew up in Janesville before attending college at Miami University in Ohio. His father and grandfather died of heart attacks in their 50s, making him mindful of a healthy lifestyle and he exercises frequently.
(Reporting by John Whitesides and Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Philip Barbara)