POLITICS

Boehner backs Ryan, Allen to Virginia delegation

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Photo - Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Getty Images)
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Getty Images)
Politics,Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate was a bold choice that should demonstrate to the Republican Party that Romney is ready to do battle with President Obama in November and lead the nation for the next four years, House Speaker John Boehner told the Virginia delegation Wednesday.

"Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan says more about Mitt Romney than it does of Paul Ryan," Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "What Mitt wanted to show us and the American people is this campaign is going to be on offense. Choosing Paul Ryan was more looking ahead at how to govern than it is about winning an election."

With Ryan set to address an expectant convention hall Wednesday night, Boehner reminisced about the first time he met the congressman from Wisconsin 20 years earlier when Ryan, then a college student in Miami, Ohio, volunteered for Boehner's campaign and helped put up yard signs.

Boehner was out campaigning for congressional candidates earlier this month when word broke that Romney had tapped the young, conservative budget wonk as his vice presidential pick.

"Paul Ryan's choice as vice president had a big impact on this race," Boehner said. "I was on the trail when Paul Ryan was announced and the enthusiasm knows no end."

Boehner also made the case for Virginia Republican George Allen, who is in a tight battle with Democrat Tim Kaine for the U.S. Senate seat Allen lost in 2006. He worked closely with Allen, Boehner said, when Allen was on the Hill.

"I've known George Allen and Susan [Allen] forever and let me tell you what: He's a rock solid guy who will do the right thing for Virginia," Boehner said.

Virginia delegates have been treated to A-List speakers all week during their breakfast gatherings, including actors, Olympians and Romney's son, Tagg. In addition to Boehner, Virginians on Wednesday heard from pollster and Fox News analyst Frank Luntz and Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno.

The speakers have painted a much more personal side to Romney, but also of themselves. Boehner, who leads a Congress that has far lower approval ratings than President Obama, tried to show a softer more approachable side that would contrast with the stern, combative image the public so often sees.

"When you're running for office, if people can't say your name, they're not going to vote for you," Boehner said. "My name looks like Beaner, Bonner, Boner." Some people began chuckling, to which Boehner replied: "Well at least it's not Wiener."

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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