NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is appearing alongside his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Romney says Ryan is a man of what he calls "great steadiness" and "unquestioned integrity." The former Massachusetts governor says Ryan is a "shining exception" in a political world of pettiness.
The two appeared together for the first time as the Republican presidential ticket on Saturday morning in Virginia. They faced supporters while standing on the USS Wisconsin, a retired World War II battleship.
Just hours after his campaign confirmed Ryan as his selection, Romney says Ryan won't demonize his opponents. Romney says that Democrats may disagree with Ryan's policies, but he doesn't know anyone who doesn't respect his character and judgment.
During the appearance, Ryan attacked President Barack Obama for what he calls a "record of failure."
The seven-term congressman says Obama has led the "worst economic recovery in 70 years." He notes that unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years - the longest stretch since the Great Depression.
In the first public appearance of the new GOP ticket in Norfolk, Va., Ryan promised not to "duck the tough issues." The architect of a controversial budget plan says he has the courage to tell the truth.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's campaign says Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate shows a commitment to "budget-busting tax cuts" for the wealthy and "greater burdens" on the middle class and seniors.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina calls Ryan is the "architect of the radical Republican House budget" proposal and says the plan "would end Medicare as we know it."
The Obama campaign said Saturday the Republican ticket would return the nation to "reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy."
Democrats are expected to seize upon Ryan's authorship of a House-backed budget plan that would curb overall entitlement spending and changes Medicare into a voucher-like system.
The president is traveling to Chicago on Saturday but had no public events planned.
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