Hours after U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was selected as Republican Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, party supporters in Columbus said Ryan will energize the party in the race for the White House.
"He is a brilliant man who absolutely understands the economy better than anybody in the White House," said Attorney Seth Harp, chairman of the Muscogee County Republican Party. "He knows it and he will be able to speak it."
The selection sets a Romney-Ryan ticket against Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the November General Election. Local Republicans said Ryan could lead the fight against out of control spending and record national deficits.
Ryan of Wisconsin has pushed for changes in Medicare and trimming trillions of dollars from the budget.
"I don't know that all the things he has proposed will do it, but I do know this: he is headed in the right direction," Harp said. "We have got to change. We are sitting on the edge of the cliff and are about to tip over."
Former Columbus Mayor Bob Hydrick said the selection shows Romney and Ryan are serious about attacking the problems the country faces as far as deficits and out of control spending.
"I think he will be fiscally conservative and the wing of the party will be delighted with that nomination," Hydrick said. "I think it reflects a very serious approach to this campaign. He didn't make a choice that was designed to balance the ticket geographically or anything like that. He picked somebody who is a serious minded person who probably understands the depth of fiscal problems this country faces as well as anybody. Quite frankly, that is what we need."
Hydrick said the nation can't continue to spend billions and billions of dollars it doesn't have. "Sooner or later we can't continue promising everybody everything," the former mayor said. "Sooner or later, there is just no way to pay for it. At some point you've got to have serious minded folks to say here are the choices."
At age 29, Joseph Brannan said he is one who has followed Ryan for a while and he's excited about his selection. "I think a lot of people were surprised, but he is going to energize a lot of folks," said Brannan, secretary of the Muscogee County Republican Party and chairman of the Young Republicans.
Along with reducing the deficit, Brannan said some people are going to challenge Ryan on Medicare and Social Security.
"It's a pretty bold plan that he put out there, but no one else has done it," he said. "That's what I thought. For him to come out and say we got a problem and we need to fix it."
On the same day Ryan was selected as Romney's running mate, Democrats were in Columbus for the State Committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center, said John Van Doorn, chairman of the Muscogee County Democratic Committee. The group was selecting committee members for the next four years.
Many Democrats think Ryan is a gift to the party, Van Doorn said.
"I think most Democrats think it is a great gift, Sarah Palin part II," Van Doorn said in a reference to Sen. John McCain's pick for vice president in 2008. "You couldn't have picked a more divisive person. He is liked on the far right, but as far as moderates and independents and liberals, I think they are all pretty much united that he is an extremist and that he is going to break the social contract that's been in place since Franklin Roosevelt."