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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ended months of speculation by choosing U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee – selection the Wisconsin lawmaker (and House Budget Committee chairman) over a field that included U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

News of Romney’s pick was broken by CNN shortly before midnight on Friday.  His supporters were notified via a smartphone application Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m.   Shortly thereafter, Romney’s campaign put out a press release announcing Ryan’s selection and dubbing the GOP ticket as “America’s comeback team.”

Ryan, 42, was elected to Wisconsin’s first congressional district in 1998.  Prior to that he was a political operative and speechwriter for former GOP vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp.

What do we think of Ryan?

Well, we’ve been somewhat complimentary of his efforts to inject a modicum of common sense into the budget debate in Washington, D.C. – which resulted in former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich infamously rebuking his plan as “right wing social engineering.”  However it’s clear that Ryan could have taken a much more aggressive stand on spending issues.

Unfortunately he didn’t – and our sources in D.C. have been quick to warn us that Ryan isn’t the Ayn Rand-worshipping policy wonk that conservatives take him for.

Of course we knew that already …

“Before getting too wrapped up in Ryan’s rhetoric, let’s not forget … he was one of the eager ‘Republican’ horde who voted in favor of former president George W. Bush’s prescription drug boondoggle. And more recently, he was one of 91 House Republicans who backed the TARP bailout,” we wrote two years ago.

For fiscal conservatives Ryan is an average choice … at best.  But even had Romney nominated a Ron Paul-type limited government advocate as his No. 2, there’s still the top of the ticket to worry about.

UPDATE: For those of you unfamiliar with the internet meme, here’s the impetus for our headline.