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Who is Paul Ryan? Paul Ryan is the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and chair of the House Budget Committee, is running with Mitt Romney, who’s challenging President Barack Obama for the White House. Born Jan. 29, 1970 in Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1998. Raised Catholic, he graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in political science and economics. He’s known for his conservative fiscal beliefs and criticism of Obama’s health care reform law—a major point of contention among GOP lawmakers.

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Romney may have picked the 42-year-old Ryan—a bow-hunting mountain climber and marathon runner who counts Led Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine among his favorite rock bands—to appeal to young voters, particularly in the battleground state of Wisconsin. Ryan, according to CNN, is “the architect of the House GOP’s budget proposal,” a plan Democratic say is unfair to poor Americans. Republicans, meanwhile, say the plan is designed to curtail government spending and save Medicare—a federal program Ryan has advocated privatizing. In January 2011, Ryan delivered the official party response to Obama’s State of the Union address, and in his remarks, he said the country was at a “tipping point” and in need of “a new course.”

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In terms of foreign policy, Ryan is considered a moderate. In Congress, he’s voted with his party 92 percent of the time, according to, and he supported President George W. Bush’s request to use force against Iraq in 2002. Ryan has drawn controversy for his fondness for libertarian writer Ayn Rand, who he once called “the reason I got into public service,” according to the New York Times. He’s since gone back on those kinds statements, CNN reports, and insisted that he was more influenced by his Catholic faith than by the Atlas Shrugged author.

Paul Ryan’s official positions on a number of key issues are outlined here.

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