Ryan's selection could have big impact in NC

August 13, 2012 8:20:59 PM PDT
Two days after Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, the battle for the White House continues to heat up here in North Carolina.

A local political expert weighed in on the pick and what it means here.

"I think the battle lines are drawn up pretty clearly," said Political Science Professor David McLennan.

McLennan believes Romney is banking on the Tea Party and that Ryan could be the difference-maker in North Carolina, which is traditionally a "Red State" that President Obama won only by 14,000 votes in the last election.

"That's always been a question about Mitt Romney -- is he a real conservative," said McLennan. "It sort of adds to his conservative credibility."  

Add Ryan's fiscal background and you have a race hinging on the economy according to McLennan.

With our state's unemployment rate a full percentage point higher than the national average, it could matter.

Also to be considered is an old endorsement from a familiar face to North Carolinians.

"I'm telling you, this guy is amazing," said Erskine Bowles about Ryan in a YouTube video. "I always thought I was OK with arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me."

Bowles, a nationally respected North Carolina Democrat and member of the president's Deficit Reduction Committee, was singing Ryan's praises in the clip.

"It makes it harder for Democrats, I think, to come back and say this is an extremist? these ideas are terrible," said Mitch Kokai, with the John Locke Foundation.

However, that will probably happen.

The Obama campaign has already spent $12 million to Romney's $19 million on attack ads in the Tar Heel State since May. With Ryan now on board, McLennan said to expect more attacks on Ryan's budget proposal and specifically what Ryan would do to Medicare in our state.

"I would anticipate the message being aimed almost exclusively at seniors," said McLennan.

Senior citizens make up more than 13 percent of the population in North Carolina.

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