Utah politicians on the Ryan selection

Posted at 4:13 PM, Aug 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-12 00:37:36-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his vice presidential running mate. Conservatives in Utah are praising the selection while Utah Democrats say Ryan could be a problem for Republicans in swing states.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says Romney made the right choice by selecting Ryan, saying he is a likable, principled conservative who has solutions that can help restore the United States.

"I think the country's going to fall in love with this Romney-Ryan ticket," Chaffetz said. "I think Paul Ryan stands for the principles of fiscal discipline, limited government, accountability and a strong national defense and these are core to the Republican approach."

Utah Democratic Chair Jim Dabakis says that Ryan's views on things like Medicare may scare off voters in swing states.

"Would you really like to be tasked with traveling through the swing state of Florida telling the people there that Medicare is going to be destroyed as we know it," Dabakis said.

Professor Tim Chambless from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah says Ryan's entrance into the race has pros and cons for both parties.

Chambless says Ryan's conservative policies can help solidify the Republican base.

"It's good in the sense that he has helped solidify his base. He has energized the evangelical right wing fiscal conservatives who have some doubts about Mitt Romney," Chambless said.

Chambless echoes Dabakis' concerns about swing states.

"On the other hand, Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin. He's not from Ohio, he's not from Florida, he's not from a key swing state," Chambless said.

Over the next few months, Chambless says, Republicans need to educate moderate independent voters on Ryan and his policies, and debates between Ryan and Joe Biden are important.

"In some ways, the Democrats have to be enthusiastic. I am thinking about the upcoming vice presidential debate and to picture how Paul Ryan sitting alongside Joe Biden will be able to handle himself," Chambless said. "I think the upcoming debates will be essential because there we will have the opportunity to see on the same stage, same time these candidates and to ask themselves who can they listen to in the next four years, who can they trust the next four years when we have record debt in a very dangerous world."