Miami U. grad picked as Romney's running mate

Published: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 8:17 AM
Updated: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 6:21 PM


            House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.

Mitt Romney’s decision to select Republican congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate is a bold stroke designed to convince skeptical conservatives that as president he will crusade for lower taxes and curbing federal spending.

Analysts acknowledge that Romney’s choice Saturday could prod voters to focus on the federal deficit and the sluggish economy as opposed to Romney’s career with a Boston investment firm.

But some GOP officials privately fear that the Republican ticket could hurt itself in the crucial state of Florida, which has 29 electoral votes, by emphasizing restraints on the rapidly growing entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Ryan, a Wisconsin lawmaker who chairs the House budget committee, has pressed for a sweeping overhaul of Medicare’s current fee-for-service plan into a system in which the federal government would subsidize private insurance plans so seniors could buy their own policies. Although Ryan has stressed his Medicare plan would not into effect for a decade, it could prove toxic with many seniors.

In addition, even though Ryan graduated from Miami University in Oxford, many Republicans were convinced that Sen. Rob Portman had a better chance than Ryan to tip Ohio toward Romney.

“It was a bold choice and it will virtually guarantee that the issues of the role of the government and fiscal responsibility will be a top priority in the general election,’’ said David Walker, former comptroller of the United States and founder of Comeback America Initiative, a nonpartisan organization that champions lower deficits.

“It increases the likelihood that the debates will be more substantive and the American people will be provided with a real choice,’’ Walker said. “And whoever wins the election will be able to claim they have a mandate for action.’’

But even as many Republicans praised Ryan as smart and possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the federal budget, they know that Obama and Democrats will hammer the GOP ticket on the type of Medicare changes that Ryan has championed as chairman of the House budget committee.

“Paul Ryan is a great guy,’’ said Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant in Washington with close ties to Portman. “My heart’s 100 percent with Paul Ryan.’’

“But my head says we need to talk about how people are hurting (economically), not how to end Medicare. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a debate on how much to cut entitlement programs. If it does, we’re going to lose.’’

Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said that by picking Ryan, Romney’s “chances have been irreparably harmed in Florida. The majority of Floridians understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare.’’

As he introduced Ryan to an enthusiastic rally in Virginia on Saturday, Romney praised Ryan as “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course.”

Neither Romney nor Ryan has much international experience.

“Who would have thought that only a decade after 9/11, the Republicans would have so little foreign policy experience on the Presidential ticket?” asked University of Dayton political science lecturer Dan Birdsong. “This underscores a simple ‘truth’ about presidential elections: domestic policy trumps foreign policy.”

Ryan signaled an aggressive course when he said that Obama and many others in Washington “have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford four more years of this.’’

Yet Romney appears to understand the potential danger with Ryan’s Medicare plans. The Romney campaign has advised its surrogate speakers that are differences between Romney and Ryan on some of the major issues, including Medicare revisions and reforming entitlements.

Federal spending on Medicare, which pays for health coverage for seniors, is projected to nearly double from $560 billion this year to $1 trillion in 2022. By 2022, Washington will spend almost as much on the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as it spends today for the entire federal budget.

Without restraining the growth of the entitlement programs, the only way the government can eventually balance the budget is through either large tax increases on all Americans or politically unpopular reductions in spending for national defense and domestic programs.

While the Ryan choice will thrill economic conservatives, particularly those who write for the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard, many analysts doubt whether he can broaden the appeal of the ticket to the handful of swing voters in a dozen states who will decide the election.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,’’ said one political strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You don’t win elections with your base vote and this guy doesn’t get you anything beyond the base. What’s the No.1 rule? Don’t pick anybody who can hurt you? Do you think swing voters in Ohio are going to like this guy’s message?’’

Naturally, local Democrats and Republicans had different opinions on how Ryan would affect the local vote. Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Rob Scott said having Ryan on the ticket will make his job easier because so many voters are looking for a real plan with specifics.

“There’s been a huge push for good fiscal management in our government, from Washington D.C. to Columbus to here locally,” Scott said. “And Congressman Ryan’s plan speaks directly to that.”

But county Democratic Chairman Mark Owens said he was looking forward to spelling out pieces of Ryan’s plan to voters, saying it would help the Obama campaign.

“Raising the tax burden on the middle class, cutting education through Head Start programs and Pell Grants that allow middle income families to go to college, all that’s going to have an effect on everybody in the Miami Valley,” Owens said.

Ryan, who was born, raised and still lives in Janesville, Wis., has an interesting parallel to the Miami Valley in the auto industry. General Motors closed its Janesville Assembly plant on Dec. 23, 2008, the same day as GM’s Moraine Assembly plant closed here. Janesville made trucks and SUVs, as did the Moraine plant.

Ryan voted in favor of the auto industry bailout, but later explained to The Daily Caller newspaper that he was told the industry was going to get government money no matter what, and he voted for what he thought was the better of two options.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich hailed the choice of Ryan, saying “he’s got a keen intellect and the kind of courage to think big on solutions that America needs from its leaders. That he’s a graduate of one of Ohio’s great universities – Miami University – doesn’t hurt either.’’

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, said that “the selection of Paul Ryan shows that we are serious about putting this country back on the path to prosperity. Unfortunately, the President has failed to offer a plan to put Ohioans back to work or to end the largest federal deficits since World War II. Governor Romney has a plan, and our country is in desperate need of leadership.”

Asked how Ryan was different from other possible Romney running mates, Turner said Ryan is “young, dynamic, intelligent, well-studied and very well-spoken.” He said the fact that Ryan has been overwhelmingly re-elected six times in an otherwise Democratic district is proof that he can appeal across party lines.

Romney will be back in Ohio on Tuesday as part of a four-state bus tour. He will stop in Chillicothe and eastern Ohio, but the campaign has not yet said whether Ryan will be with him.

Explosives fail to bring down Ohio’s tallest bridge

Published: Sunday, April 30, 2017 @ 9:21 AM
Updated: Sunday, April 30, 2017 @ 12:17 PM


            Traffic reopens after another attempt to demolish the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge. CONTRIBUTED/MARK NEWBERG

A third attempt to demolish the remnants of the state’s tallest bridge failed Sunday so crews will use cranes to dismantle the former Jeremiah Morrow Bridge in Warren County.

Ohio Department of Transportation Press Secretary Matt Bruning said they are finished trying to blow the old bridge down.

“After a demolition blast on Sunday morning, crews will now begin manually dismantling the remaining section of the old Jeremiah Morrow bridge to remove it,” Bruning said. “The next phase of work will begin immediately and is not expected to impact traffic or require additional closures to I-71.”

Last Sunday, four spans were to be imploded.

RELATED: Crews try again to topped old bridge

Two of the spans were successfully imploded, and a third span was demolished when explosive charges were set and detonated a second time.

On the final span, the steel structure heading north and east away from the Little Miami River, only half of the charges detonated on the first try.

MORE: Part of Jeremiah Morrow Bridge imploded

The new $88 million Jeremiah Morrow structures opened last November after six years of construction. They are among Ohio’s longest bridges, spanning nearly 2,300 feet, are the state’s tallest at 239 feet above the Little Miami River and will carry more than 40,000 vehicles daily on Interstate 71.

The new bridges will carry two lanes in each direction across the Little Miami Valley, but have room to add a third lane in the future. Construction on the project first began in the fall of 2010.

The twin spans are named after Jeremiah Morrow, who served as a State Senator, Ohio’s first U.S. Representative, a U.S. Senator and an Ohio Governor between 1803 and 1842.

At least 5 dead, dozens injured as tornadoes hit eastern Texas

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 11:01 PM
Updated: Sunday, April 30, 2017 @ 12:22 AM

Tornadoes tracked across parts of Texas on Saturday, leaving behind a swath of damage, injuring dozens of people and killing at least five, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Preliminary reports to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth indicated that as many as three tornadoes raked over parts of Henderson, Van Zandt and Rains counties in eastern Texas. Crews will survey the damage Sunday to determine the strength of the twisters.

"We have a lot of injuries," a dispatcher with the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office told KXAS-TV. The dispatcher added that there was “a lot of damage.”

At least five people were killed in the storms, according to KTVT. None of the victims have been identified.

One person was found dead in a pasture in Canton, the Ben Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department told KTVT. The Canton Fire Department told KXAS-TV that another person was killed along Highway 64 when a tornado threw the person’s vehicle.

Nearly 50 people were taken to hospitals with a variety of injuries after the tornadoes struck, including one with critical injuries.

A dispatcher at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press that “officers were chasing numerous injury reports.”

Video from local television stations shows uprooted threes, damaged homes and overturned cars along roadways.

Body found in Grand Canyon likely boy swept away with step-grandmother

Published: Sunday, April 30, 2017 @ 8:26 AM

This undated photo released by the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 shows Jackson Standefer. On Saturday, April 15, 2017, Standefer, 14, and his step-grandmother, LouAnn Merrell, were swept down a remote creek in Grand Canyon National Park in Grand Canyon National Park. The family is holding out hope that the 62-year-old wife of a popular outdoor footwear company founder has the skills to keep them both alive until they're found, a family member said. (McCallie School, Chattanooga via AP)
McCallie School, Chattanooga via AP/AP

Grand Canyon National Park officials said Friday that a body found is likely that of a 14-year-old hiker who went missing in the park two weeks ago with his step-grandmother.

>> Watch the news report here

According to the New York Post, Jackson Standefer of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was swept away along with LouAnn Merrell when the two were crossing a creek on April 15 and slipped into the water. After a week of intensive searching by land and air and even a motorized inflatable boat, the search was scaled back.

>> Read more trending news

The body was discovered by commercial river trip participants and transported to a medical examiner, the Post reported

Authorities recovered some photographs of Jackson and Merrell from his GoPro camera.

Standefer was an eighth-grade student at The McCallie School, an all-boys boarding institution in Chattanooga. A school spokesman said he was active in outdoors programs, crew team and a Christian youth group.

Merrell, the boy’s step-grandmother, is the wife of Merrell Boot Co. co-founder Randy Merrell and lives in Utah. She is still missing.

Related

Police: Florida man’s fight with girlfriend causes neighborhood power outage

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

Milian
Miami Dade County Sheriff's Office

A man in Hialeah who got into an argument with his girlfriend ended up causing a power outage in the neighborhood, police said. 

The outage happened when Angel Milian, 18, set his girlfriend’s purse on fire and threw it over a gate at his house, WPLG reports.

>> Read more trending news

Florida man accused of killing roommate’s baby 

Firefighters said the purse set a $3,000 palm tree on fire, and the flames spread to a Florida Power & Light electrical box, according to WPLG. 

Hialeah police arrested Milian when the girlfriend showed officers a recorded video of him lighting her purse on fire. He was taken to the county jail and faces a second-degree charge of arson. 

Read more at local10.com.