This morning’s Politico Playbook newsletter points out that the Ryan choice changes the whole raison d’etre shows how the Mittster’s handlers are trying to spin things to indicate it was his wise and statesmanlike decision:
Good Saturday morning. RACE RESET: In making Paul Ryan his running mate, Mitt Romney is discarding one of the most basic assumptions that has driven his campaign until now: Make the race is about President Obama, and he will lose. Don’t worry about being accused of being vapid and elliptical, went the Romney theory of the case: The more specific you are, the more chance voters will be distracted from a simple referendum on the Obama economy. Run out the clock, look credible and plausible, don’t lunge for shiny objects that take you off your economic message, and you’ll win.
But it wasn’t working. The selection of Ryan — to be announced at 9:05 a.m. aboard the USS Wisconsin (!) as Romney begins a swing-state bus tour in Norfolk, Va. — disrupts a race that had been trending subtly but unmistakably Obama’s way. Romney now has a chance to make the race about something big, rather than the petty squabbles that have dominated the general election so far.
Months ago, a Romney official was walking through the pluses and minuses of the various V.P. possibilities, and said at the very end of the spiel: “Only one person on the campaign wants Paul Ryan. That’s Mitt Romney.” The two had just campaigned together, and proved to have superior chemistry.
A top Romney adviser told us after the news broke early this morning: “Going big has risks, but fewer than going small. Now this is a race about what the future’s going to look like. … This was all Mitt’s decision. These are two guys who love data, and have a similar way of looking at the world. … Mitt isn’t thinking about Ohio or the Hispanic vote. He’s thinking: ‘I’m gonna be president. Who’s going to help me succeed?'”
Romney officials refer to Ryan as THE PARTNER — someone who would work closely with Romney as he governs, and have partial ownership of the first 100 days’ accomplishments.