News that Paul Ryan was chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate had people in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., abuzz Saturday morning. But the strong feelings Ryan provokes elsewhere for and against his policies were also evident.
On her way into the Janesville post office, Corrine Smith has a smile on her face. She and her husband are both big Paul Ryan supporters, and they were thrilled when they heard the news.
“Actually, I heard about it early this morning, and I did not tell my husband; he was in the office working,” she says. “And [I] heard him this morning when he heard [and] let out a ‘Whoo!’ So, very excited about the pick.”
Smith says that’s partly because Ryan’s a “local boy.” Her family has even run into Ryan and his family at Chuck E. Cheese’s. But Smith says it’s Ryan’s platform that she really likes. She says she believes in charity, but not from the government.
“That should be the position of people, humanity as a race, that we help one another, but not necessarily the position of government,” she says, “that you take what I’ve worked really hard to earn and give it to somebody else.”
Al Banner of Janesville says he has supported Ryan ever since he was first elected 14 years ago. He says he likes that Ryan’s eager to take on difficult issues.
“He talks like I talk. He feels like I feel,” Banner says. “At least that’s what he brings to us.”
For some of Romney’s sharpest critics, like Sue McKillips, the Ryan pick is troubling.
“I think it shows Mitt Romney’s true colors,” she says.
For McKillips, Ryan’s budget proposals are designed to benefit people like him, but not like her.
“If you don’t depend on your Social Security check or any other government programs, you’re going to be fine if you’re one of the wealthiest in this country,” she says. “But if you’re just one of the working stiffs like the rest of us, then beware, because I see it as a total disaster.”
Wisconsin being a swing state, there are also undecided voters like Dawn Thorn, who says Romney’s choice of Ryan does not seal the deal for her.
“He’s an impressive guy. He’s done a lot,” she says. “But I’m leery because I’m not very confident anymore in any of the candidates.”
Thorn has been unemployed for a few years now and says these are scary economic times. She says she needs to hear more from all the candidates.
“I have to hear what they have to say, I don’t want to hear a lot of talking bad about the other person. Let’s hear what you have to offer me,” she says.
Thorn says she knows it’s a lot to ask for honesty and openness in politics, but she’d like as much as she can get.