Democrats are certain to replay past Republican criticism of the Ryan budget.
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and one-time Republican presidential candidate, referred to Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare as "right-wing social engineering." He later apologized.
Florida Rep. Connie Mack, who hopes to win the Republican Senate nomination Tuesday, said in April of the Ryan budget: "You know that budget was a joke, doesn't balance the budget for years." An aide later clarified that Mack was referring to the voting process in which Republican-passed legislation in the House goes nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Mack's deficit-cutting plan calls for cutting one penny from every federal dollar spent.
Republicans see Ryan, a Catholic from Wisconsin who could appeal to blue-collar voters, as an appealing complement to Romney, a Mormon and multimillionaire.
But Ryan has tangled with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and others in the church over his budget, which would cut Medicaid, food stamps, Pell Grants and a host of other programs that directly help the nation's poor.
Ryan had said the budget is based on Catholic social teaching. But in a letter, the Rev. Thomas J. Reese called that nonsense.
"I am afraid that Chairman Ryan's budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Reese, a Jesuit priest and senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "Survival of the fittest may be OK for social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love."
Romney insisted on Saturday that Ryan is intent on creating opportunities for all Americans.
"Paul is in public life for all the right reasons — not to advance his personal ambitions but to advance the ideals of freedom and justice, and to increase opportunity and prosperity to people of every class and faith, every age and ethnic background," Romney said.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Donna Cassata was The Associated Press' political editor in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
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