MILWAUKEE -- Those who follow politics for a living say Mitt Romney's appointment of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) sends message that will be felt across the country.
Marquette professor John McAdams goes further, suggesting the Romney camp may have been lacking confidence.
"My guess is the Romney campaign decided that wasn't enough, that they needed something to kickstart the campaign, to generate some buzz," he said.
UWM professor Mordecai Lee believes the selection of Ryan won't be enough to swing Wisconsin. But he says the Janesville Republican has enough national appeal to make a difference in other key states.
"He can go into Ohio and Florida and the conservative tea party activists are gonna treat him like a rock star," Lee said.
Ryan earned that national "rock star" status through a budget plan rooted in deep spending cuts. Political consultant Chris Haworth says that's the appeal.
"Mitt Romney is going to be making this election about the economy," he said, "Going back a few years, as a Democrat pundit once said, 'it's the economy stupid and I think that's exactly what it's going to be this time around."
McAdams says the pick signifies something even bigger than the economy; it's now about core beliefs.
"This may signal a fundamental change in direction for the campaign, a change from making it a referendum on Obama's performance to a clear ideological choice," he said, "What kind of America do we want?"
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