Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

The Risks and Rewards of Choosing Paul Ryan

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

"They were thrilled," said Chaffetz, a vocal Romney supporter. "People who know Paul Ryan, know he's the real deal. We know Paul. We've interacted with him. We've seen his leadership and his work product."

Ryan's fellow Republicans painted the duo - coined by the campaign as "American's Comeback Team" - as truth-tellers not afraid to confront the reality of the economic situation.

But Ryan's national campaign experience is minimal - at least as a candidate. His political expertise comes from his time on Capitol Hill, as well his time on the campaign trail promoting his budget plan.

A former Capitol Hill aide, Ryan moved home to Janesville, Wis., before running for an open House seat in 1998. Ryan dominated his first Republican primary that year, winning with 81 percent of the vote. He defeated his Democratic opponent in a landslide, 57 percent to 43 percent, in a heavily targeted race.

The Wisconsin Republican has easily won re-election ever since, never pulling in less than 63 percent of the vote in his competitive district. Any Democratic attempts to challenge have sputtered.

Romney's short list for his No. 2 on the ticket reportedly included four names: Ryan, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. But NBC News, which first broke the news of the Ryan pick, reported Romney's comfort with Ryan was unmatched.

Meredith Shiner contributed to this report.

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