Mitt Romney has tapped Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate.

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paul-ryan-mitt-romneyMitt Romney announced Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday, selecting the Republican Party’s go-to man on budget issues in a decision that signals the campaign will make the nation’s spiraling debt a centerpiece of its attacks on President Obama. Romney made the selection official during a campaign stop Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va., before launching a four-day bus tour. The Republican presidential candidate stressed his new running mate’s “steadiness” and “integrity.” Speaking Saturday morning, Romney praised Ryan as an “intellectual leader” of the party, one who understands the toll the debt is taking on the country but is optimistic about the future.

“He doesn’t demonize his opponents. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences and he appeals to the better angels of our nature,” Romney said. “He’s never been content to just curse the darkness. He’d rather light candles.” Ryan stressed the fiscal peril facing the nation, taking the stage immediately after Romney to the backdrop of retired battleship USS Wisconsin.

“No one disputes that President Obama inherited a difficult situation. And, in his first two years, with his party in complete control of Washington, he passed nearly every item on his agenda. But that didn’t make things better,” Ryan said. “In fact, we find ourselves in a nation facing debt, doubt and despair. … “Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure.”

The Romney campaign formally announced the selection via its mobile-phone app. An alert that crossed shortly after 7 a.m. ET said: “Mitt’s Choice for VP is Paul Ryan.”

Word had already gotten out that the Republican presidential candidate had chosen the seven-term congressman and budget policy guru as his running mate. Multiple sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed the choice to Fox News early Saturday. Sources say Romney notified the aide running his VP search of his decision on Aug. 1. ty feud.

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