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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Paul Ryan in Depth
Aired August 12, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And this is a CNN special, "PAUL RYAN IN DEPTH". He's of course the man of the hour handpicked by presidential candidate Mitt Romney to join him on the Republican ticket.
I'm Gloria Borger here in Washington and I'm joined by CNN's chief national correspondent, John King. He's in Waukesha, Wisconsin right now and, of course, that is Paul Ryan's home state. I think John you're about 50 miles, right, from Janesville, which is Paul Ryan's district and his supporters are gathering there in Waukesha for a warm welcome.
So tell me about the crowd.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's quite a large crowd here, Gloria. They're going through the preliminary speakers now where the Republican politicians from Wisconsin. You see a big crowd behind me. Trust me, it runs out this way as well and over this way.
This is a Wisconsin homecoming. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney landed just a short time ago. Paul Ryan said it was great to be home. He said he's been flying into the airport in Milwaukee for the 14 years he's been in the United States Congress never has he returned home for a welcome like this. He now will be the Republican vice presidential nominee.
We're in a state Gloria as you know, that has been Democratic, reliably blue in Democratic politics and presidential politics for a long time, but these Republicans here think because of the Romney pick of Paul Ryan, because of the election buzz in this state this year, the Republican governor recently survived that bruising recall election. They think it's possible they can put Wisconsin back in the Republican column.
So, a big homecoming for Paul Ryan here in Wisconsin; these people know him quite well. The American people are just getting to know the congressman, the House Budget Committee Chairman -- sometimes controversial House Budget Committee chairman that Mitt Romney has asked him to join his ticket.
The Republican ticket traveled here from High Point, North Carolina, another state that the President Barack Obama carried four years ago that is critical to the Republican strategy of taking back the White House.
Mitt Romney leads the ticket but as we try to get to know Paul Ryan better, let's listen to a bit of Paul Ryan the Republican of Wisconsin a bit earlier in High Point, North Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a clear choice of two futures. Are we going to accept the status quo, accept the path that President Obama has put us on with government taking over of healthcare, government taking all these aspects of our economy; Washington picking winners and losers in our economy; putting us on a path of debt; putting us on a path of doubt and decline. Or are we going to get America back on track and turn this economy around and get people back to work and leave our children a better future?
We can turn this around. We can do this. We can get this country back on track. We can get people back to work. We can get our debt paid off so our children inherit a better standard of living than what we've got because that's what our parents did for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: So there you hear Paul Ryan earlier today. That's High Point, North Carolina. He'll be here in Waukesha, Wisconsin momentarily. You hear the excitement building in this crowd. This is a critical part of the state Gloria as you well know. Milwaukee votes Democratic -- these are the suburbs around Milwaukee, reliably Republican. They don't just need margins, they need big turnout. John McCain carried Waukesha County, 63 percent to 37 percent. But of course, Barack Obama carried the state, 56 percent to 43 percent.
I can tell you we'll see how it plays out in the 86 days ahead, but this crowd here tonight thinks -- thinks that if the energy that Paul Ryan brings to the ticket in this state, we might have an interesting race here -- Gloria.
BORGER: You know John I think he's also bringing some money in for them. According to the campaign tonight, they've raised about $4.8 million since Ryan has been on the ticket. And I don't know about you, in watching Mitt Romney, he kind of looks relieved, doesn't he? Like he has somebody else standing next to him to carry the message?
KING: He is. Paul Ryan is the same age as Mitt Romney's oldest son. So there's a little bit of a generational signal here and a lot of Republicans yesterday, is the optics of this. The introduction of Norfolk, Virginia, they move through several stops in Virginia. Paul Ryan seemed to get more looser as the day went on in North Carolina today, Wisconsin tonight. And then Paul Ryan will break off, we'll see him solo campaigning in the state of Iowa tomorrow.
They like the energy, they like youthful vigor; they know Gloria there are going to be some huge, huge debates about federal spending priorities. It's about the Ryan budget which would trim the Medicare spending.
But we're going to see if this man is up for the challenge and what the Republican ticket believes already is they've changed the tone and the tenor of the debate to make it about bigger issues. They had the Bain/Solyndra debate for a long time. BORGER: Right.
KING: This is going to be about bigger issues now.
BORGER: Well, you know, one thing we know for sure is that Paul Ryan has got -- he's got the attention of Barack Obama today. The President mentioned him by name at a fund-raiser, so he's clearly aware and I think he's looking forward to -- to talking about Paul Ryan a bit.
Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yesterday morning, my opponent chose his running mate, the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress Mr. Paul Ryan. And I want to congratulate -- no, no, no. Look, I want to congratulate Congressman Ryan. I know him. I welcome him to the race.
Congress -- Congressman Ryan is a, is a -- is a decent man, he is a family man. He is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney's vision. But it's a vision that I fundamentally disagree with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: John, it seems to me like the President cannot wait to start talking about Paul Ryan's vision. The question of Medicare -- you know, seniors are a very, very important constituency. The Democrats lost in the 2010 midterm elections and they're dying to get them back and they see this as a huge opening.
KING: It's fascinating, Gloria. You know we stopped by the Organizing for America -- the Obama campaign's office here in Waukesha. Again, they expect to be beaten here in the suburbs. The question is the margins. One of the volunteers when we walk in was asking the office manager. He said we need more information on Paul Ryan's record so that I can rebut people when I meet him who say I'm so proud for the state of Wisconsin and in fact they're already doing that.
We just heard from the President there. His campaign staff today had a new script. They're calling voters around the states and in that script they were saying you might like Paul Ryan. You might think this is good for Wisconsin, but we urge you to take a look at his budget specifically what it does to Medicare.
So the game has changed a bit already. The script has changed already, the debate much more about the Ryan budget plan now than it was about other issues just 24, 48 hours ago Gloria.
BORGER: You know John, today, David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the President, came out and called Paul Ryan a right-wing ideologue. Seems to me like they're trying to put Ryan at the top of the ticket as opposed to having him being number two and they want to define Mitt Romney by the Ryan budget plan and Romney's people are saying no, no, no. Mitt Romney is going to have his own budget.
KING: Well look, what David Axelrod is doing is trying to motivate the Democratic base, the left base. As what Governor Romney is doing with the selection of Paul Ryan is signaling that he, too, thinks this will be a base election. John Kerry versus George W. Bush back in 2004 -- which party could best motivate its base between now and election; from conventions to Election Day and then on Election Day turn out their voters. This is very much more looking like that race than the McCain/Obama race.
And at the moment Gloria if you go through the polls, some people think it could be as close as another race, Bush versus Gore.
So there's no question. Both parties think the key to this election is ginning up turnout among your base. Because they believe the middle of the electorate is increasingly shrinking.
BORGER: You know, one of the problems I think the Romney campaign has in trying to describe Paul Ryan is Romney has called himself an outsider. Paul Ryan is somebody who is a product of Washington. I think most people will agree. But today, Mitt Romney tried to describe Paul Ryan as a reluctant candidate, somebody who put his own private career on hold to serve in Washington.
But he made it try to sound like he wasn't really as interested in Washington as we've seen here from where I sit. Take a -- take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His career, his career ambitious was not to go to Washington. That was not what he wanted to do. But he became concerned about what was happening in the country and wanted to get America back on track and so he put aside the plans he had for his career and said I'm going to go and serve. And he's gone there and he's put the country and policies to get America right again ahead of ambition.
He planned on doing something else with his career, but you know, he looked at the country and recognized the real challenges we had and decided to go and try and make a difference. And so he went to Washington, not to get along with everybody, but instead to bring some new ideas and to help bring people together on both sides of the aisle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: John, does he seem a reluctant Washington person to you, Paul Ryan?
KING: You know, not so much. Look, Paul Ryan served as a staff member on Capitol Hill for Wisconsin Republican Senator. He served Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett at the Republican think tank, a conservative think tank, Empower America back in the 1980s. When he was a young man in his early 20s -- he was elected to Congress when he was 28, but when he was younger than that, he told people he was going to build a little Washington experience and then go home and run for Congress.
So when he was in his early 20's he was planning yes, to come home to Janesville, Wisconsin but to come back to Washington. So, to call him the reluctant warrior of Washington is a bit of a stretch, shall we say. Not to disparage public service, Paul Ryan has been in public service for 14 years now, but he's there because he wanted to be. And he wanted to be there Gloria at a very young age.
And a quick footnote, we're told the Romney/Ryan bus is on its way here about five minutes away, and a large crowd here. Some cheese heads in the crowds here in Wisconsin eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Republican ticket.
BORGER: You know John it's very clear to me that Paul Ryan always wanted to be on this ticket. When I asked him about it, months ago, he didn't turn it down and say you know, we'll have to take things as they come, but it's very clear to me that Paul Ryan is somebody political. He's ambitious. Nothing -- nothing wrong with that, was even thinking about running for the presidency himself.
And now, John, I think he's going to have a homecoming in a few minutes like none he has ever seen before. As you say the bus is just a few minutes away and we're going to stay here and wait for his return, joining the Republican ticket, coming home to the state of Wisconsin.
I think four years ago, who could have imagined Paul Ryan rising to these heights. We're going to take a look at who he is and we're going to listen to him and listen to Mitt Romney right ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM PAWLENTY, ROMNEY NATIONAL CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: It's a great ticket; it's a terrific pick by Governor Romney. And Congressman Ryan as you've already seen is bringing energy to the ticket and he's got a clear, specific vision, an adult approach to solving the nation's problems. And you don't see that from the President and his team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to our CNN special, "PAUL RYAN IN DEPTH". You just heard there the former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. He was one of the men on the short list, a good friend of Governor Romney's. In fact, such a good friend, Governor Romney called him first among those he had considered several days before he called the others to tell them he had decided to go in a different direction.
Now Governor Pawlenty is being a good soldier, saying he will continue to fight on for what is now a Romney/Ryan ticket.
I'm John King live in Waukesha, Wisconsin tonight. The Romney/Ryan campaign bus arrived here just moments ago -- a giant crowd on hand in Wisconsin to welcome Paul Ryan home. This is his first rally in this state since Governor Romney announced him yesterday as his choice to share the Republican ticket.
The people of this state know Paul Ryan well; the people of the country, maybe if they've closely followed the big budget debates from recent years. But to most Americans, Paul Ryan is largely unknown so listen here to Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney introduced him yesterday. The first stop at the "USS Wisconsin" -- get that -- in Norfolk, Virginia Paul Ryan discussing his family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Janesville, Wisconsin is where I was born and raised; and I never really left it. It's our home now. For the last 14 years, I have proudly represented Wisconsin in Congress. There -- there, I have focused on solving the problems that confront our country.
My dad and I when I was young, he was living (inaudible). There are a few things he would say that would just always stuck with me. He'd say, son, you're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Well, regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem and Mitt Romney is the solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, that was Paul Ryan in Norfolk, Virginia at the unveiling. Here we are in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They're waiting for him to speak here.
Now, why would Governor Romney decide to put Paul Ryan on the ticket? Number one, there is no question of his knowledge of the federal budget. Governor Romney wants to have a big debate with the President of the United States about taxes, about spending, about how to revive the economy, about how to cut the federal deficit. He has decided Paul Ryan is that man.
He has energized the conservative base. You see that right here in the Republican suburbs of Milwaukee. The conservative base, very, very energized here in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
42 years old. He also brings some youthful vigor to the ticket, Gloria. And the question now going forward is, is that enough. Is that enough? Some will question his experience. Many will question his proposals, but the two candidates are now here at this rally site and we'll watch what happens in Wisconsin.
This could be our first test case.
KING: If they can move the numbers here in their favor when they see that the Ryan pick -- in the end, remember, people pick presidents, not vice president, but we'll see how much of an impact Paul Ryan can have.
BORGER: You know, I think there was some thinking in the Romney campaign, John, that if they were going to win the election by just saying that President Obama's economy is bad, they would have been a little bit higher in the polls than they are right now. So I think a decision was made that they needed to do, to have another plan and that would be to have a vision for the future and go big, which is what they're doing with Paul Ryan.
They're not only saying ok, President Obama's economy is bad, but here is our long-term plan for the future. And I guarantee you that at some point, they're going to be saying to President Obama, where is your long-term plan to save entitlement programs that are important to senior citizens? Where is your long-term plan on tax reform?
By the way, Paul Ryan is for tax reform, but we're not quite sure what taxes he would raise as a part of that. So I think this is a way that they can kind of say to the Obama campaign, ok, guys, we need to get you on the record on certain things that are important to voters, particularly Independent voters in this country.
KING: I think that's exactly right. Look, the race is very competitive. The polls have drifted a bit in the President's favor, especially the national polls in recent days. But the Romney campaign and Governor Romney himself made a calculation to make the race about something bigger and something a bit different.
We've had this Bain -- what I'll call the Bain vs. Solyndra debate. Mitt Romney, wealthy man -- the President says he won't release his taxes, what is he hiding. He ran this company that shut down factories. He doesn't care for the middle class. That's what the President has been saying.
Governor Romney has been saying Mr. President, you had three years. Your approach to surviving the economy was a stimulus program that failed. It was sometimes petty and often personal debate.
Now, what do you have? By embracing Paul Ryan -- now, Governor Romney says he's not embracing every line, every detail, spending number, every cut in the Ryan budget, but he is, Gloria, making this a bigger campaign now. The question is can they keep it as a big campaign?
If they're debating every line of the Ryan budget, the Republicans may lose this election, but if they can make it about the economy's in trouble, the country's in trouble. It's time to make big, tough choices.
The Republicans believe they can win and, Gloria, the reason they believe that is they look at 2010. They look at the recall election here when Governor Walker had a run-in with the labor unions.
KING: He tried to -- he did cut back on their benefits and he's won that election even though labor and the Democrats poured all that money in. They think if they can make it about yes, it's tough choices. Some of these choices are controversial. Some of them may hurt, but they need to be made.
If they keep it up here and not in the weeds of the Ryan budget, they think they can change the tenor this race.
BORGER: Right. And I think in the week after that Walker win, Paul Ryan's chances for the vice presidential nod certainly got a lot better, don't you think John?
KING: It sure did.
BORGER: I mean if I'm a Republican, I'm looking at that win in the state of Wisconsin, I'm going ok, maybe we can win that state. Maybe Paul Ryan is the guy that can do this.
Ok, John. And it's been an extraordinary week as we know for Paul Ryan. We're waiting for the bus to pull up with him, but right after this, we're going to show you the conservative Congressman as you've never seen him and his life may never be the same.
So, who was Paul Ryan before joining the Republican ticket? More on the politician and the family man straight ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So God bless you --
KING: I'm John King live in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Welcome back to our special CNN coverage: PAUL RYAN IN DEPTH.
Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's choice to share the Republican ticket to be the vice presidential nominee for the GOP to speak at this boisterous rally just momentarily. Speaking now is the Republican Senator Ron Johnson, a 2010 Tea Party favorite, a business man. Proof he just told this crowd that Wisconsin can become a red state again.
Now, Wisconsin has a pretty big role in our national politics this year. Up next will be Reince Priebus, he's the Republican National Committee's national chairman. He happens to be from the state of Wisconsin. Then Scott Walker the Republican governor will speak. He is now known across America because of that big recall battle. He just survived a recall race after a big fight with labor unions over their pension benefits.
And Governor Walker will introduce the man Mitt Romney hopes will be the next vice president of the United States. A large crowd, Gloria, here. Gloria Borger joins me now from Washington.
I mean so many Republican faces, Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman now taking over. They hope that means they can turn this state from blue in presidential politics. Purple at the moment, you might say. They want to make it red come November.
BORGER: John, they really, really hope that they can make the state of Wisconsin red. It is not anything the Romney campaign was counting on, but now, I think they have it in their sights. And everybody in Wisconsin knows who Paul Ryan is, but most of the country doesn't. We're going to tell you a little bit about him.
He's only 42 years old. And he's somebody who's never felt he had a lot of time to accomplish his goals and given his family history, you can understand why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
And Ryan is a man in a hurry. In Washington, he bunks in his Congressional office. It's cheaper, near work and closer to the house gym which is good since he's a fitness buff who got some of his colleagues hooked on a gruelling exercise routine called P90X.
RYAN: It's just a great workout.
BORGER: In a way, he owes his devotion to fitness to his father, in particular one day when the younger Ryan was still a teen.
Your dad was 55 when he died and you were -- 16 years old.
RYAN: 16, yes.
BORGER: How did that affect you? You say you're more sensible.
RYAN: You know, yes. I mean I was as a young kid working at McDonald's that summer and my mom was out visiting my sister who got a job in Denver and you know, went to wake him up in the morning and he wasn't alive.
BORGER: You found him.
RYAN: So, I basically had to learn to sink or swim. My grandmother who had Alzheimer moved in with us at the time, then my mom and I took care of her. My mom went back to school to earn a skill. I did a lot of growing up very fast.
It made me very -- I'd say initiative prone. Live life to its fullest because you never know how long it's going to last.
BORGER: But you had the opportunity to run for president at the age of 41 if you're in a hurry. And you said --
RYAN: Yes, true. Nice boomerang on that.
BORGER: -- and you said no.
RYAN: Sure because I think there are other good people who can do this job, but there are other good people who can't raise my kids.
BORGER: That didn't stop the push to try and draft Ryan to run. The argument is simple. He's proven he can take on the President.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul, look --
RYAN: It's just a difference in philosophy. It is.
OBAMA: This is an important point.
BORGER: Bill Bennett says that Ryan really flashed on to the President's radar after some fiery exchanges at his health care summit. BILL BENNETT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You can tell Barack Obama took notice, even took the measure of him. Paul Ryan was in his brain a little bit.
BORGER: Actually, a lot. The White House seated Paul Ryan right up front at the President's budget speech in April and then proceeded to denounce his plan.
OBAMA: It ends Medicare as we know it.
RYAN: What I was thinking at the end of that speech was you know what? We're getting divided government to work. We're actually, you know, compromising. Getting things done. So what I got out of that was politico mode, you know, demagoguery and sort of nullify the notion that there's an alternative path for this country.
BORGER: With neither side budging, Ryan had settled in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paul Ryan is the right guy.
BORGER: As a hero to Republicans and a devil to the Democrats and he's ok with that.
RYAN: They had an ad of me pushing some older woman off a cliff or something like that.
BORGER: It doesn't bother you?
RYAN: No, not really.
Look, we have a normal life here in Janesville; my wife and I with three beautiful kids. You know, we have soccer on Saturdays. We have cub scouts. We have a normal life like everybody else.
I go to Washington four days a week, which I call the silly place. You know, it's two different kind of worlds. And if we don't tackle these kinds of problems, they're going to tackle us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: You know, John, he's a very attractive candidate there, but he does have some downsides that people have been talking about. That he's never really run statewide, never anything more than a Congressional race. But of course, he has no foreign policy experience and that some folks are going to question whether somebody who's 42 years old is actually ready to be commander in chief.
But John, I think the big question is whether he can sustain the attacks that the Democrats are going to wage on him about going after entitlements like Medicare or raising the retirement age for social security.
KING: And Gloria, that's the question. Can he -- he's going to get many punches. And he's been in the middle of these fights for years, as the ranking member when the Republicans were in the minority; as the budget chairman now. He's had these debates face to face with President Obama. So he's proven to be a pretty good debater and pretty tough. But as you know, a lot of politicians who have a pretty good reputation get on the national stage and we learn new things. So it is testing time for Paul Ryan without a doubt.
To the points you made about his youth and his lack of foreign policy experience, I went to a diner in the suburbs here today and I put that question to some loyal Republicans. Excuse -- they got quite combative about this.
What about President Obama? He was only a couple of years older. He had no foreign policy experience and to be factual, Paul Ryan has much more experience in Washington than Senator Obama did when he ran for president. So when you ask the experience or the age question, you get a lot of push back from Republicans who'll take us back in time and say if you're going to be critical of Paul Ryan, remember, he has more experience than then Senator Obama did.
BORGER: But you know what, John, sometimes experience can kind of work both ways, right? Having Washington experience right now is not always considered a positive. In many ways, it's considered a negative, which is why everybody including Mitt Romney, has been running as an outsider.
KING: That's what makes this interesting.
You know, if Governor Romney had chosen Governor Pawlenty, for example, he would have had a ticket -- they would have run as two governors who worked with Democrats but not from Washington, a city that has frankly been pretty toxic and has a pretty bad reputation around the country.
Governor Romney instead deciding -- Governor Romney is a bit of a nerd too. Paul Ryan is a self-described nerd, deciding here to go with somebody who thinks like him. Somebody who likes to read policy papers like him to have what we assume will be an elevated policy debate. It's a gamble by Governor Romney, but he has picked somebody who is loved in the Republican Party, who knows those issues.
You might not agree with his positions. This is how President Obama himself puts it, "I disagree with him but he's smart. I respect that. And he knows his stuff (ph)."
BORGER: You know, John, Governor Walker is now introducing Paul Ryan and one Republican strategist I spoke to this week put it this way, he said Paul Ryan is somebody that Mitt Romney might have hired at Bain Capital. You were talking about both of them being nerds and they're both clearly data driven people and that's kind of struck me as true in a way, Mitt Romney is sort of hired a junior partner here.
KING: And many people say that Paul Ryan is in some ways a younger version of Mitt Romney, when Mitt Romney came to Bain. He talked to Democrats at Bain. They say when they were having problems with their on portfolios they would come to Governor Romney because he was somebody who would study the data in a methodical way and wasn't afraid to make some tough calls. Since you mentioned Governor Walker, he is preparing to introduce Congressman Ryan, the vice presidential nominee to be. We have to have a convention first. It is Governor Walker's experience in recent years that has Republicans thinking even though the polls at the moment show about a five point lead here for President Obama, it is the experience of this governor who is warming up this crowd right now, the leads Republicans to think -- You know what? They have a lot of intensity in this state right now. They have a campaign operation that has been tested in 2010 and retested in the recent recall election. That's why they (INAUDIBLE).
You can go back through history and you see Wisconsin blue when it comes to presidential elections. Time, time and time again. It is because of the experience of this governor and now with the addition of Paul Ryan, they think it could be different this time.
BORGER: It's interesting when you think of Wisconsin because the state is so polarized right now and in many ways, it's polarized like the rest of the country. You saw with the Walker recall election, you saw labor on one side, Democrats and labor on one side, pitted against Paul Ryan. I mean pitted against Governor Walker because of the public employee unions.
And in many ways, the fight in that state is really the fight that's going on in the rest of the country, which is why Romney holds out hope for winning what is usually blue.
KING: Gloria, this is where I think I get quiet. We have a little welcome here. I'm going to step out of the way.
Here you go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Ryan!
KING: As you see, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan getting off the bus here, I want to note not only is this a made for TV moment in the state of Wisconsin, but there are cameras all over the place, including a jig camera going high above the crowd. Gloria, it's a pretty safe bet that you're going to see some of this in television advertisements and web videos and the like quite soon.
As you watch the two candidates make their way up on stage, people who are veterans of Wisconsin politics say when it comes to presidential politics, it's been a while since they've had enthusiasm like this.
BORGER: This must be quite a moment for Paul Ryan, too, John. I think it's something he kind of wanted, but never counted on happening.
KING: Gloria, it's interesting. As we wait for the candidates to come on stage, you want to talk about the intensity of this state. There were some union workers in the parking lot when we came in representing the Obama campaign and as we were talking, I had a woman make her way through the crowd to hand me a press release saying, workers facing outsourcing by Bain to make the rally here in Wisconsin. So you have a huge Republican crowd here but the Democrats (INAUDIBLE) to make clear that yes, the energy of the moment is with the Romney- Ryan ticket. The focus in this state is a lot of buzz. A lot of democrats in this state we ran into say, of course, they're proud to have a son of Wisconsin on a national political ticket, but this is how it works in presidential politics.
The Republican side because it goes first, Governor Romney just has his running mate, they get most of the attention right now, but it is safe to say here and elsewhere, when the glow of the Republican announcement fades a little bit, the Democrats are more than ready, Gloria, to fight back.
BORGER: As you look at Mitt Romney, John, he seems in the last events we've seen over the last day or so, pretty comfortable with Paul Ryan and I'm told that that was really important to him when he was making his choice that it was someone he could feel comfortable with. Maybe it's because they both call themselves nerds. But I do think that it is somebody who would have hired and clearly Paul Ryan is very emotional about this moment.
KING: Governor Romney's been in politics for some time. He ran for president. In the last cycle, he was governor of Massachusetts. He has had big jobs like leading the Olympics and being governor of Massachusetts. But if you watch this, Gloria, it happens every cycle. Somebody clinches the nomination, who's relatively new to national politics and they have a bit of a transformation. There's a several step process - picking your running mate, it's sort of that first moment where it's proof - "Whoa, I'm the nominee. I'm in charge of the ticket. I get to pick a number two."
Then you get your convention speech, another big chance especially in a close race to reintroduce yourself to the American people, to make your case. And then step three of that process is that first presidential debate and Governor Romney's enjoying, I'm going to call this the easy part. I'm not saying it's not important but this is the easy one. He picks his running mate. And then when he steps into those debates with President Obama especially in a close election, they could be defining. So as we get introduced to Congressman Ryan, we're also watching a very important transformation and evolution of Governor Romney into the Republican nominee, not just the nominee but the leader of his party.
BORGER: John, look at how emotional this is for Paul Ryan. Obviously wiping tears from his eyes. Coming back to his home state of Wisconsin and being welcomed like this. You see Ann Romney back there behind him.
KING: It's an emotional moment for somebody - this is when you see them, Gloria - sometimes, they try to stay on script. Sometimes, they enjoy the moment.
BORGER: He's enjoying it.
PAUL RYAN, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Wisconsin. It is good to be home. I tell you, I love Wisconsin. Oh - I see my family over here. That's this half of the stadium. I got a lot of family. I tell you what, I love you, too, man. I'm fifth generation from this state. My families came here back in the 1800s. Made a go of it. It's where we've all raised our families ever since. This is such a phenomenal place to live, to work, to raise your family.
I think back about you know, the summers up at our grandparents at Lake Winnebago, up in (INAUDIBLE) County. I think about deer camp over at Fairchild in O'Leary County. Janna, our daughter, Liza, our son, Charlie and Sam, we live on the block I grew up on. With about 10 other Ryan families within about eight blocks of our home.
My veins run with cheese, bratwurst and a little spot of (INAUDIBLE) some Miller. I was raised in the packers, badgers, bucks and brewers. I like to hunt here. I like to fish here. I like to snow mobile here. I even think ice fishing is interesting. I'm a Wisconsinite through and through and I've just got to tell you what this means to be home.
I also want to say a great thanks to my friend, Scott Walker and my friend Reince Priebus and Ron Johnson. Those guys from Tosa, (INAUDIBLE) and Janesville. And what we learned in this state just a little while ago is that we want to elect men and women who run for office and tell us who they really are, what they really believe, what they're really going to do and then when they get elected, they do that. That's what we do here in Wisconsin!
We've seen a few elections in Wisconsin lately. We're ready. We're tested. We put these ideas out there, implemented it, our leaders fixed the problems in Madison. And we as voters said keep doing it. On June the 5th, courage was on the ballot in Wisconsin and courage won. We saved Wisconsin that day and on November 6th, we Wisconsinites will help save America that day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA... USA... USA.
RYAN: Man - friends, I see so many friendlier faces in this audience. It's just amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all family, brother.
RYAN: We are all family, brother. And that wasn't my brother who said that, actually. We have a very critical decision to make in this country. We are at that proverbial fork in the road in America. The president came into office with so much hope, offering so much change. He got the power he wanted. He got his party in control. He passed almost every item on his agenda. It's law now. And now, we're seeing the results.
A country with a health care system that's about to be taken over. A country with four years of trillion dollar deficits. A country in economic stagnation. The worst economic recovery in 70 years. The largest deficits and the biggest government since World War II. Nearly one in six Americans are in poverty today. The highest rate in a generation. You know what? We're not going to take that. We're going to turn this thing around. The good news is this. We can do this. We can turn this around. We can get this economy turned around. We can get people back to work and most importantly, I look at my kids, Sam, I'm over here. I look at my kids, it's been a long day for him. I look at my kids and I want them to have the kind of future that I had. That's what my dad always told me.
In this country, every generation fixes their problems, makes things better and leaves their kids better off. It is our duty to save the American dream for our children. So we have a big choice to make. And if we look at the path that we are on, if we look at all the things that the president's been doing, more government, more regulations, the promise of a lot more taxes on successful small businesses, we see a president who took what we pioneered here in Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, welfare reform, getting people off of welfare, back to work (INAUDIBLE) dignity, personal responsibility, on to a life of hitting their potential.
If this president is going to do these kinds of things in a very difficult, tough election year imagine what he would do if he never has to face the voters ever again. You know what? We're going to find out. So here is our choice. We can either stick with the politics of the past, with dividing, with distorting, with distracting. We can put ourselves on a path toward a welfare state with a debt crisis, where we now see the government's role as not promoting equal opportunity in protecting our natural rights but giving us new government granted rights, putting the government in charge, running our society, driving our economy, picking winners and losers, equalizing the outcomes.
This country is so special. The state is so special. It's so special because it's the only country founded on an idea. It's very special. And that idea in nutshell - it's in the Declaration of Independence, our rights come from nature and god, not from government. So here's our choice.
Do we want the opportunity of society with the safety of the land of upward mobility where people can make the most of their lives, where they can get ahead or do we want to go down on the path of debt, doubt and despair. Do we want a copy here? No. It's going the take leadership. It's going to take courage. It's going to take another election just like we had in 2010 to get this right. And when we do, we will look back at this moment in 2013 as the day our generation fixed it so the American idea was turned around and our children had a brighter future.
As you now know, I've spent some time with this man lately. We need a man of integrity. We need a leader of principle. We need somebody who is a bedrock of principles, a moral compass, a vision for the country and the experience, the expertise to put that vision into place. Those are the things that describe this man, Mitt Romney.
When you see how this man, how warm he is to his family, to his associates, when you see the successes he's achieved, raising a beautiful family, working hard, creating small businesses, turning around struggling businesses, creating jobs. This is a person who has a life experience who knows that if you have a small business, you did build that. This is a man who win the Olympics was struggling, when it was failing, the country called him to serve and revive it and he made us all proud by running the Olympics and saving it.
This is a man who as governor worked across the aisle, got things done, balanced the budget without raising taxes, increased employment, increased the credit rating and increased household incomes by providing leadership. This is a special moment. For us, our family. For all of us because we are all family. This is it. This is the election. We owe you our fellow citizens, the choice. So you get to decide what kind of country you want to have, what kind of people do we want to be.
We want to have the kind of an election where we earn your support, where we win an election because you said, go fix the mess in Washington, so when we win this election, we go fix this mess in Washington!
This is an exceptional nation. This is the greatest idea. There is no other system that has done more to help the poor, to help spread opportunity, to help people rise up and make something of their lives than the American system of freedom and free enterprise. We have a leader here who understands that, who more importantly, knows how to deliver that.
That is our contract with you. Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to do this, we will turn these things around. Guess what? This man, his name is Mitt Romney and he is going to be the next president of the United States of America!
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, buddy.
KING: Mitt Romney now speaking to the (INAUDIBLE) Wisconsin. You just heard it from the man of the moment here in this state, Paul Ryan, who will be the Republican vice presidential nominee.
Our special coverage here at CNN of Paul Ryan in depth. We'll continue in just a moment.
KING: Welcome back. We're live in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I'm John King. Our special report, "Paul Ryan, In Depth, The Nominee." Mitt Romney speaking to this crowd now. One off the biggest debates in this campaign from the democratic side is should Governor Romney release more of his income factors. Because Paul Ryan turned over several years during the vice presidential vetting process, Democrats say, "Ah-ha, Governor Romney should release more."
Now, we're told that Paul Ryan has decided (INAUDIBLE). Jim Acosta is here. They understand the pressures and they understand the heat from the Democrats. What will Paul Ryan release to the people?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, from what we're hearing from the campaign tonight, Paul Ryan, obviously is doing that interview on CBS with Mitt Romney. He said during that interview that he will be releasing two years of his tax returns. I went over to a Ryan spokesperson and asked him about this and try to confirm it and they said "Yes, that his plan. He is going to release two years of his tax returns."
The timetable, I just got word from a Ryan spokesperson that as soon as they're ready is essentially when we're going to see those tax returns. John, as you know, this has been a looming pressing issue, pressing issue for the Romney campaign all throughout this primary and regular campaign season cycle. And I think what we're going to see eventually from the Romney and Ryan team is they're trying to get ahead of some of these issues.
You know, they've been playing a lot of defense. I think the sign that they're giving tonight that they're going to release these tax returns is the sign that they're going to play more offense and get out in front of these issues instead of playing defense.
KING: Two years max is what Mr. Romney has done. I'm suspecting Gloria that we'll end here in (INAUDIBLE) and we'll throw it back to you in Washington, (INAUDIBLE) for the Democrats. We'll see if the Republicans can stick to that. Two years from Mitt Romney and two years from Paul Ryan. (INAUDIBLE) Gloria.
BORGER: We're going to have to see if that's enough. I doubt it is for the democrats. Thanks so much, John. I'm Gloria Borger here in Washington. CNN PRESENTS: UNWELCOME THE MUSLIMS NEXT DOOR. That begins in a few minutes.