Here's one thing President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney could agree on during their first debate this week: Something has to be done about the enormous gap between what the federal government collects in taxes and what it spends.
But the two men fundamentally disagree on what to do about that budget deficit.
Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.
When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. It is no coincidence that Mitt Romney makes his vice presidential announcement aboard the U.S.S. Wisconsin, since Congressman Paul Ryan is from the Badger State. The U.S.S. Wisconsin is one of the largest battleships ever built by the U.S. Navy.
The selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate will energize conservatives and liberals for the same reason. Ryan is the architect of the Republican House budget, which makes him a champion for conservatives, but a lightning rod, as well.
Joining us now to talk about that Ryan budget is NPR's Scott Horsley. Scott, this is a choice that activists in both parties will have something to say about it.