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Paul Ryan Pick Has Energized Mitt Romney, John Boehner Says

TAMPA, Fla. — Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that the GOP presidential nominee has been energized by his selection of running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.).

Speaking to a group of reporters at a Christian Science Monitor lunch, Boehner turned a question about his opinions on Ryan to a verdict on Mitt Romney’s willingness to take risks.

“I think Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan really says more about Mitt Romney than it does about Paul Ryan, because for Mitt Romney to take what I’ll call a riskier choice — he had safer places he could have gone — I think he understood that he had to be on offense and that we have to be on offense through this election,” Boehner said.

“And by putting someone as strong, with a very clear record, as Paul Ryan on the ticket says an awful lot about our nominee, and I think it’s brought energy to [the] campaign, and it’s brought energy to the candidate,” the Speaker continued.

Boehner refused to specify whether he believed a Romney win translated into a mandate for the Ryan budget, or whether a loss would mean the opposite and that voters rejected the controversial budget plan authored by the House Budget chairman.

The Speaker’s remarks today came off as a continued backhanded compliment to a presidential candidate Boehner formally has embraced as the leader of the party but has yet to shower with ringing praise.

“The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney,” Boehner said in answer to a question at a June 30 fundraiser.

But the characterization that Romney has gone on the “offensive” with Ryan fits in with the Speaker’s larger narrative about the 2012 elections, just two years after an astounding 89 GOP freshmen were swept into Congress. Boehner said he believes the GOP must be aggressive in protecting its majority in the House and winning back the Senate and White House.

And Boehner has led that charge, barnstorming the country this August and raising almost $4 million in the 23 days leading up to Tampa’s convention, especially for Members and challengers in what he dubbed “orphan races” in the traditionally blue states of Illinois, New York and California.

According to aides, Boehner has raised almost $84 million this cycle, transferred more than $20 million from his committees to the National Republican Congressional Committee and contributed more than $2.1 million from his committees directly to Members and candidates.

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