Republican Mitt Romney today tapped Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to be his running mate.
USA TODAY lived blogged the Romney announcement, which was made in Norfolk, Va., against the backdrop of the USS Wisconsin. Scroll down for updates:
9:46 a.m. ET: Ryan is done and the Romney campaign anthem, "Born Free," by Kid Rock is playing. The new ticket is waving to the crowd as flags are waving in the audience.
9:45 a.m. ET: Ryan says he and Romney will "have the courage to tell you the truth. I'm thrilled to be part of America's comeback team. Together we will unite America and we will get this done."
9:44 a.m. ET: Ryan is talking about the "unsustainable path" of the federal budget. "We won't duck the tough issues, we will lead," he says about the GOP ticket. "We won't blame others; we will take responsibility. And we won't replace our founding principles, we will reapply them."
9:43 a.m. ET: The crowd is chanting "USA! USA!" as Ryan discusses the founding principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and "government by the consent of government."
9:41 a.m. ET: "As more Americans work hard, take risks ... more people will prosper, our communities will benefit," Ryan says. "America is more than just a place. American is an ideal. Our rights come from nature and God, not from government."
9:39 a.m. ET: "Mitt Romney and I will take the right steps in the right time to get us back on the right track," Ryan says. "I'm proud to stand with the man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy ... someone who understands if you built a small business, you did build that." That's another zinger directed at Obama has been criticized for his suggestion that small businesses needed government assistance for success.
9:37 a.m. ET: Some context on the Romney gaffe of introducing Ryan as the "next president." Turns out Obama did the same thing in 2008 when announcing Joe Biden during his VP announcement in Springfield, Ill., according to ABC News.
9:34 a.m. ET: "President Obama has become part of the problem and Mitt Romney is the solution," Ryan says. "We need new leadership to become part of the solution ... new leadership to restore prosperity and to restore economic growth and jobs. It is our duty to save the American dream for our children and theirs."
9:32 a.m. ET: Ryan is talking about his hometown of Janesville and his home state of Wisconsin, as he talks about how his 14 years of Congress will make a difference in a Romney administration.
9:31 a.m. ET: Ryan is speaking, sans tie. "We will restore the greatness of this country," Ryan says, as he introduces his wife and children.
9:29 a.m. ET: Romney comes back and says, "every now and then I make a mistake. But I did not make a mistake with this guy. I'll tell you now, he's gonna make a great vice president of the United States. "
9:28 am. ET: "Today is a good day for America and there are better days ahead," Romney says as he introduces Ryan. But did he say the next "president" of the United States?
9:27 a.m. ET: Huge applause for Romney's line: "We will preserve and protect Medicare ... and keep it for future generations."
9:25 a.m. ET: Romney is going through his plan for the economy, with an emphasis on the middle class. Big cheers from the crowd on his vow to achieve energy independence. "We will return work to welfare," Romney says, in an unveiled swipe at President Obama and his new welfare rules.
9:24 a.m. ET: "Paul also combines firm principles with a practical concern for getting things done. He's never been content to just curse the darkness."
9:23 a.m. ET: In a nod to social conservatives, Romney says, "Paul believes in the worth and dignity of human life."
9:22 a.m. ET "Paul Ryan works in Washington but his beliefs remain firmly rooted in Janesville, Wis. He's a person of great steadiness whose integrity is unquestioned," Romney says.
"Paul Ryan ... doesn't demonize his opponents."
9:21 a.m. ET: Romney starts by saluting Norfolk and Virginia. "Today we take another step forward in restoring the promise of America," he says. "It's an honor to announce my running mate and the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan."
9:19 a.m. ET: Romney is walking down the steps of the USS Wisconsin, heading for the stage and podium. Ominous, patriotic, soaring music playing in background.
9:16 a.m. ET: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once Romney's top rival for the GOP nomination, tweets his praise for the VP choice: "Paul Ryan, conservative budget hawk..excellent choice who will underscore MR commitment to downsize Washington and restore job creation."
9:10 a.m. ET: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is getting ready to introduce Romney. McDonnell. chairman of the Republican Governors Association, was also mentioned early on as a possible running mate for Romney. He's been an active campaign surrogate.
9:01 a.m. ET: CNN reporter Jim Acosta reads from e-mail from a "top Romney adviser" saying a call was made to Ryan on Aug. 1, asking for a meeting. That's the day after Romney got back from his overseas trip to Great Britain, Israel and Poland -- a trip that Democrats criticized for missteps.
8:52 a.m. ET: CNN is reporting Romney decided on Ryan on Aug. 1.
8:43 a.m. ET: Former Virginia senator and governor George Allen is the first GOP speaker at the podium in Norfolk. He's warming up the crowd. Allen is running for his old Senate job against Tim Kaine, another former governor and ex-chairman of the Democratic Party. The Virginia race factors into which party will control the Senate.
8:39 a.m. ET: More from excerpt of Ryan's speech, about why he says he's ready to be vice president:
"I believe my record of getting things done in Congress will be a very helpful complement to Governor Romney's executive and private sector success outside Washington. I have worked closely with Republicans as well as Democrats to advance an agenda of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and job creation."
8:36 a.m. ET: Ryan appears ready to assume the role of Republican attack dog. He'll say this about President Obama's handling of the economy:
"Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure."
8:34 a.m. ET: The Romney campaign has released excerpts of Ryan's speech. The House Budget Committee chairman is effusive with praise for the top of the GOP ticket:
"Mitt Romney is a leader with the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history. Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them. Governor Romney is the man for this moment; and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country."
8:32 a.m. ET: The first tweet from Ryan in his new role:
I'm honored to join @MittRomney on America's Comeback Team. http://mi.tt/Romney-Ryan #RomneyRyan2012
8:30 a.m. ET: USA TODAY's Jackie Kucinich reports from the scene that Ryan will be on the Romney bus tour during the Virginia and North Carolina legs of the trip today and tomorrow.
8:25 a.m. ET: The Susan B. Anthony List, a conservative women's group, is pleased with Ryan, calling him "a longtime pro-life advocate." .
"By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
8:19 a.m. ET: A tweet from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who also hails from Wisconsin: "Congratulations to my good friend @RepPaulRyan! A great choice, and will be an amazing Vice President. #RomneyRyan2012"
The Romney campaign has been hailing for weeks that this will be "America's Comeback Team," and that's the headline on this morning's news release. The new running mate is also reaching out via social media, with @PaulRyanVP as his new Twitter handle.
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY