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Paul Ryan: Which campaign gets the bigger boost?

Both Democrats and conservative Republicans are seeing Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as a potential game-changer for their team. But only one can win.

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Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin reacts to audience applause during a campaign event at the Waukesha county expo center, Sunday, Aug. 12, in Waukesha, Wis.

Mary Altaffer/AP

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On one point, partisans on both sides agree: Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has the potential to be a game-changer.

For Mr. Romney, Congressman Ryan of Wisconsin has given his presidential campaign energy and focus. The “Ryan plan,” the House Budget chairman’s proposed tax cuts, spending cuts, and dramatic rethink of entitlements, is now at the center of debate.

The immediate reaction of conservatives, who were skeptical of the former governor of Massachusetts, was excitement, and a feeling they could begin to trust Romney.

Democrats are equally thrilled about the choice of Ryan, in part for the same reason. His detailed plan, they say, gives them a club with which to beat the Romney-Ryan ticket about the head, and scare voters – especially seniors in key swing states like Florida and Ohio.

Never mind that Ryan’s proposals for Medicare and Social Security would not affect those at or near retirement. As Romney arrived in Florida Monday morning to campaign, the Obama campaign released a web video featuring older Floridians expressing alarm over cuts to Medicare under the “Romney-Ryan plan.”  

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