GOP sounds the alarm on Ryan

Republican strategists fret about Ryan; the VP pick's Koch ties; and other top Wednesday stories

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 14, 2012 12:28PM (EDT)

Republican pros have buyer's remorse on Ryan: We noted yesterday that Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee could spell trouble down the ballot, and now Politico and the Hill report today that Republican strategists are privately fretting about the choice. “There are a lot of races that are close to the line we're not going to win now because they're going to battle out who's going to kill grandma first ... It could put the Senate out of reach. In the House it puts a bunch of races in play that would have otherwise been safe,” one unnamed Republican strategist told the Hill. “Very not helpful down ballot -- very,” an unnamed strategist told Politico.  “This is the day the music died,” another unnamed operative, who is working for a 2012 candidate, added. Yet another told Politico, “The good news is that this ticket now has a vision. The bad news is that vision is basically just a chart of numbers used to justify policies that are extremely unpopular.”

Politico sums up its findings: “In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives -- old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike -- the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.”

Ryan and the Kochs: One facet of Ryan’s career that has gone largely unnoticed so far is his unusual closeness with many deep-pocketed Republican donors. The New York Times reports that Ryan is “one of a very few elected officials” who has attended the Koch brothers’ biannual conservative strategy sessions and that he is on close personal terms with other big donors. He has done special events with the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and the Wall Street-backed Club for Growth, among other groups.

Consolation prizes: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may not have gotten the V.P. slot, but he’ll be giving the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month. Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, another contender for the V.P. pick, will introduce Romney’s speech at the convention.

Jackson Jr. treated: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., the Illinois Democrat who is the son of the civil rights leader, is being treated for bipolar disorder at the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic. Jackson disappeared months ago before it was revealed that he  was being treated at Mayo several weeks ago. The clinic said Jackson "is responding well to the treatment and regaining his strength," but declined to say if or when Jackson would return to work. "Bipolar II disorder is a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive and is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors," Mayo's statement reads.

Perry: States' rights trump gun rights: After the tragic shooting at Texas A&M yesterday that left three dead, Texas Gov. Rick Perry affirmed the importance of gun rights and said he opposed new gun regulations. However, he said it should be up to states to decide what to do with guns, which puts him to the left of the NRA, which believes that states should not be allowed to make strict new gun regulations.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Mitt Romney Paul Ryan