Obama camp likens Romney VP pick Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin

Wisconsin Congressman has given Republicans a fillip, but will he help the campaign?

LAST UPDATED AT 16:06 ON Mon 13 Aug 2012

PAUL RYAN, Republican Mitt Romney's running mate in the US presidential election, may appear to have little in common with Sarah Palin, but that has not stopped Barack Obama's advisors from trying to draw comparisons between the two as the race for the White House hots up.

Four years ago Palin was John McCain's controversial pick for vice-president, but the choice appeared to backfire spectacularly as the campaign stalled amid a series of gaffes and ferocious media attacks on the then Governor of Alaska.

Now David Axelrod, a senior figure in the Obama camp, appears to be trying to invoke the spectre of Palin to counteract the boost Ryan has given to the Romney campaign.

He told CBS: "I saw the same kind of excitement four years ago when John McCain appointed Sarah Palin. There were crowds and much of the same kind of reaction, but I don't think it worked out very well for them."

Axelrod added that Ryan was "not going to be a plus" for the campaign.

However, his appointment has given the Romney camp a much-needed fillip. Mark Mardell of the BBC wrote: "It is fairly clear that both Democrats and Republicans in their own way will be 'fired up' by the choice... It could be that attention doesn't stay on the VP very long, but this does seem like a fresh phase in a campaign that had felt rather stuck in a rut."

Although a poll by CNN found that 40 per cent of voters had never heard of him, Ryan has managed to lift the campaign. The Washington Post notes: "The Republican presidential ticket is drawing huge and at times electric crowds, at long last energising a conservative base that has hungered for an inspiring standard-bearer."

Wisconsin Congressman Ryan is not a household name but he is well known in political circles because of his radical plan to cut America's debt. As head of the House Budget Committee he has proposed radical cuts in federal spending and wants to redesign the Medicare package.

Although he is well liked by other politicians, Axelrod described him as "a certifiable right-wing ideologue". Observers are also agreed that his radical budget plans will now become crucial to the election and will provide a point of real political difference between the two camps.

And a USA Today/Gallup poll on Monday found that, despite the boost Romney received over the weekend, the wider American public was not bowled over. Similar polls have been taken in every election since 2000 and nobody has scored lower than Ryan in that time. · 

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