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Monday, August 13, 2012

In Missouri Senate Race, Ad Assails Akin\'s Position on Social Security


Less than one week after Representative Todd Akin clinched the Republican contest in Missouri to take on Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrats have begun the campaign against him in earnest with an ad criticizing Mr. Akin's position on Social Security.

The ad, released by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, describes Mr. Akin as “way out of Missouri's mainstream” for supporting the partial privatization of Social Security.

And if the amount money spent on this early ad is any indication, Democrats are prepared for a competitive - and expensive - race: The committee spent $1.1 million to buy airtime for this initial ad, which will run across the state, according to one Democrat who tracks media buys. (Republican groups have already spent an estimated $15.2 million on ads opposing Ms. McCaskill.)

The ad includes a clip of Mr. Akin, from an appearance on C-Span in 2011, in wh ich he said of Social Security, “I don't like it.”

“I think the independent voters in Missouri are going to be most persuaded by the facts and policies that Todd Akin supports,” said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic committee, “so highlighting in a factual way how far out of the mainstream Todd Akin is, that's our winning strategy.”

The theme echoes a narrative that has been pushed by Ms. McCaskill's campaign, and that helped propel Mr. Akin to victory in his party's primary. During the Republican primary, Ms. McCaskill's campaign funded nearly $2 million worth of ads describing Mr. Akin as “too conservative,” part of an effort by her campaign to influence the choice of her challenger.

As the election nears, the Democrats' strategy might extend to include Mr. Akin's stance on issues affecting women, including abortion and access to contraception. Mr. Akin, who is backed by the Tea Party, opposes abortion under any circumstance, an d has said he considers the morning-after pill to be a form of abortion.

Mr. Akin has also been forthcoming about his qualms with Social Security, which he has called “a tax,” but he has said that he supports continuing the program for older Americans while phasing in private options.

The race between Mr. Akin and Ms. McCaskill will be among the most competitive Senate contests in the country, and a challenging one for Democrats in a state that has turned a darker shade of red since Ms. McCaskill was elected in 2008. Prior to the Republican primary, a poll conducted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found Ms. McCaskill trailing all of her potential Republican opponents, including Mr. Akin, by five points (just outside the margin of error).

Ryan Greeted By Hecklers at Iowa State Fair


DES MOINES - Representative Paul D. Ryan received a raucous baptism into public speaking, State Fair-style, when he encountered determined hecklers on his first day of solo campaigning.

As Mr. Ryan spoke to a generally supportive crowd from an outdoor political soabox at the Iowa State Fair, protesters in front of him shouted slogans including “We are the 99 percent!'' Two women who tried to climb onstage were hustled away by security officers before they could unfurl a banner.

“It's funny, because Iowans and Wisconsinites, we like to be respectful of one another,'' Mr. Ryan said to the crowd, many holding “Romney” signs. “These ladies must not be from Iowa or Wisconsin.''

A day after parting ways with Mitt Romney following the Republican ticket's joint appearance at a giant staged rally outside Milwaukee, Mr. Ryan's visit here on Monday set off many side debates among audience members over his and Presi dent Obama's policies.

It was illustrative of how Mr. Ryan, a leader of House Republicans with detailed plans to alter cherished entitlement programs and cut taxes, has instantly become an ideological lightning rod in the presidential race.

Two women who followed him as he strolled through the fair argued over his plan to revamp Medicare into a set payment to individuals to buy insurance in the private market, which Mr. Ryan believes will save the program from insolvency.

“Vouchers are a cut in Medicare; you just wait, you'll lose money,'' Midge Slater argued.

“What are you going to do for my two grandchildren when we're broke,'' another woman told her, declining to give her name.

Mr. Ryan's short speech did not address two controversial subjects of concern to Iowans: a farm bill that is a victim of Congressional deadlock; and a tax credit to the wind industry, which Mr. Romney opposes but Iowa's Republican lea dership supports.

Instead, Mr. Ryan used his speech to attack Mr. Obama over a ruling that Republicans say would gut the work requirement at the heart of the federal welfare law of 1996.

“The work requirement in welfare reform did more to help the poor than any reform we've had in the last generation,'' Mr. Ryan said. “And President Barack Obama has just passed a rule waiving those work requirements, saying no longer do states actually have to have work requirements for people to receive welfare.''

The administration has said no waivers will be granted unless a state's program increases the number of aid recipients getting jobs compared to existing programs.

Mr. Ryan's embrace of the traditional role of a vice-presidential candidate as chief surrogate and attack dog seemed a work in progress. His criticism of Mr. Obama was not notably fierce, and his manner was easy-going. He seemed unfazed by the protesters who chanted through much of his speec h. He did not argue with them the way Mr. Romney did at the fair a year ago when he said, “Corporations are people, my friend,'' a line critics seized upon.

Mr. Ryan praised Mr. Romney's experience as a job creator in private business and ticked off the five-point plan the Romney campaign has advanced to speed economic recovery.

“We need to stop spending money we don't have,'' he said. “President Obama has given us four years of trillion-plus deficits. He's making matters worse and he's spending our children into a diminished future.''

Mr. Ryan looked comfortable: youthfully fit, dressed in jeans, a red checked shirt and scuffed cowboy boots. After stepping out of a black S.U.V., he unclipped his iPhone, whose case has a hunter's camouflage pattern, and handed it to an aide for safe-keeping while walking through the crowds.

Kay Pence, dressed in a frilly costume and calling herself the Tax Cut Fairy, followed along. “If we wish hard enough w e can cut millionaires' taxes, raise military spending and balance the budget too,'' she said.

Mr. Ryan strolled with Governor Terry E. Branstad and Representative Steve King, leading Iowa Republicans.

“You have to see the butter cow here, this is a big deal,'' Mr. King told him, mentioning the century-old fair's most famous attractions, a large sculpture in butter.

Mr. Ryan was unfamiliar with it. “You mean fried butter?'' he said.

“No, no,'' Mr. King said. “This is cultured cow milk.''

“Is it a Holstein, Guernsey, Jersey or what?'' Mr. Ryan asked.

Mr. King didn't know. “Have you ever seen a butter cow?'' he asked the newcomer.

“No I haven't. I've milked a cow though.''

Jesse Jackson Jr. Being Treated for \'Bipolar II Depression\'


CHICAGO â€" Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who has been on medical leave since early June, is being treated for “Bipolar II depression” at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, according to a statement released by the clinic Monday providing the most recent update on the congressman's medical condition.

“Many Americans have bipolar disorder,” said the brief statement, which the clinic said it was distributing at Mr. Jackson's request. “Bipolar II disorder is a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive and is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors.”

The Democrat from Illinois has been absent from Congress since June 10. His office announced he was on medical leave two weeks later, saying that the congressman was being treated for exhaustion, but giving no further details.

As speculation has built about Mr. Jackson's condi tion and location, the congressman has released a slow drip of information in recent weeks, disclosing that he was undergoing “intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder” early last month. On July 29, the Mayo Clinic announced that Mr. Jackson was at its facility in Rochester, Minn., receiving inpatient evaluation.

The clinic's statement on Monday also noted that Mr. Jackson had gastric bypass weight loss surgery in 2004, which it said is “increasingly common in the U.S. and can change how the body absorbs food, liquids, vitamins, nutrients and medications.”

The update said Mr. Jackson was responding to the treatment and getting stronger, but offered no additional details about his condition or when he might return to work.

Mr. Jackson, 47, is up for re-election in November.

TimesCast Politics: Ryan Reshapes the Presidential Race


New Polls Rate Choice of Ryan


A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Americans are divided over Mitt Romney's selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice-presidential running mate, but that favorable opinion of Mr. Ryan rose after the announcement was made.

Still, a sizable number of Americans have no impression of Mr. Ryan. A poll taken Sunday by Gallup/USA Today also finds division, with 42 percent of Americans viewing the choice of Mr. Ryan as “fair” or “poor” and 39 percent viewing it as an “excellent” or “pretty good” pick.

According to the Post/ABC News poll, 38 percent of Americans viewed Mr. Ryan favorably after the announcement, up from 23 percent who said so just a few days earlier. The survey was based on two national samples of voters, with 667 interviews conducted by landline and cellphone Wednesday through Friday, before Mr. Romney announced his decision publicly, and 522 interviews conducte d Saturday and Sunday, after the disclosure.

After the announcement, a third of Americans viewed Mr. Ryan unfavorably, no difference from earlier. Three in 10 Americans had no opinion, down from 45 percent.

Among Republicans, 62 percent had a favorable impression of him after the announcement, up from 48 percent before the announcement. And 46 percent of seniors viewed Mr. Ryan favorably, up from 28 percent. However, more than a quarter of seniors are undecided about him, and increased discussion of his proposals for revamping Medicare in the coming days may likely have an impact on their views.

In looking back at historical polls after recent Republican vice-presidential announcements, Mr. Ryan rated lower than Dick Cheney in 2000 (Gallup found 55 percent of Americans thought him to be an “excellent” or “pretty good choice”), and about the same as Sarah Palin in 2008 (46 percent had a positive reaction).

The Gall up/USA Today poll also found nearly half of Americans viewed Mr. Ryan as qualified for the presidency should something happen to Mr. Romney, while about 3 in 10 did not, and nearly a quarter were undecided.

The margin of sampling error for the earlier Post/ABC News poll was plus or minus five percentage points, and for the latter poll it was plus or minus six percentage points. Gallup/USA Today interviewed 1,006 adults by telephone on Sunday, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. In addition, polls conducted entirely in one night introduce additional error.

Citibank Joins the Simpler Checking-Disclosure Club


Citibank is the latest big bank to offer a slimmed-down, plain language disclosure for its checking account customers.

The bank joins other big institutions, including Chase and TD Bank, and a growing number of credit unions in adopting shorter, simplified disclosures, to help customers easily see the crucial fees and policies associated with an account.

Citi is now using a two-page form that outlines fees for its various checking accounts, including the amounts assessed for covering overdrafts. The document also explains how deposits and withdrawals are processed, and when deposits become available.

“There's only one thing you need to help manage fees,” the document's heading says. “The Facts.”

Citi adopted the form as part of a “plain talk” initiative, which aims to provide customers “with the facts they need to make informed decisions when opening an account or considering changes to their ban king relationship,” said Stephen Troutner, Citi's head of branch network and banking products for its domestic consumer banking, in a statement.

Citi, Chase and the other banks developed their new forms in cooperation with the Pew Safe Checking in the Electronic Age project, an arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, which promotes simplified disclosures. A recent Pew analysis found the median length of a checking-account disclosure is 69 pages-down from 111 pages a year earlier, but still quite lengthy.

Pew had originally proposed that banks adopt a single-page document, but few banks have been able to shrink their verbiage enough to meet that goal.

In Massachusetts, Warren Seeks to Link Brown to Romney-Ryan


BOSTON - If President Obama is pleased by Mitt Romney's selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Elizabeth Warren is ecstatic.

Ms. Warren, a Democrat challenging Senator Scott P. Brown, a Republican, says that Mr. Ryan's budget proposals are so harsh that they will spook voters here in deep blue Massachusetts into realizing that keeping Mr. Brown in office would only provide a rubber stamp for a draconian Romney-Ryan administration.

“Scott Brown and the Republicans are doubling down on policies that will hurt seniors, make it tougher for families to educate their children, and leave small businesses struggling,” Ms. Warren said in a statement. “The Republican vision of the future is tax breaks for billionaires and repeal of reforms for Wall Street.”

At the same time, the Massachusetts Democratic Party released a video in which it seeks to link Mr. Brown with Mr . Romney and Mr. Ryan.

It shows a clip of Mr. Brown saying there is no one he would trust more on the economy than Mr. Romney and another in which he says “thank God” that Mr. Ryan has released his budget proposal. (Mr. Brown initially praised the Ryan budget proposal but ended up voting against it.)

“Brown, Romney and Ryan,” reads the tagline of the Democrats' video. “Wrong for Massachusetts.”

The Warren-Brown race, already the most expensive in the country, is one of a handful that could determine which party controls the Senate next year.

Mr. Brown has not yet commented on Mr. Romney's selection of Mr. Ryan as his running mate.

But the senator portrays himself as an independent, not as a Republican. He has tried to create some distance between himself and Mr. Romney, though Mr. Romney's campaign is based here and they share some political advisers.

Though a former governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney is trailing in state polls to President Obama, and the relatively popular Mr. Brown needs to keep Mr. Romney from dragging him down here in November.

Mr. Brown was already planning to keep a low profile at the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa; the expected celebration of Mr. Ryan by conservatives could send Mr. Brown running for cover.

Follow Katharine Q. Seelye on Twitter at @kseelye.

You Probably Have Too Much Stuff


Carl Richards is a certified financial planner in Park City, Utah, and is the director of investor education at BAM Advisor Services. His book, “The Behavior Gap,” was published this year. His sketches are archived on the Bucks blog.

When a man named Andrew Hyde began an adventure in minimalism, he only owned 15 things. It eventually moved to 39 and now it sits around 60. It all started when he decided to take a trip around the world and sell everything he didn't need. As Mr. Hyde noted on his blog, it changed his life after a brief period of befuddlement:

I'm so confused by this. When we were growing up, didn't we all have the goal of a huge house full of things? I found a far more quality life by rejecting things as a gauge of success.

When I came across his original story of only owning 15 items, I was so inspired I immediately went home and found 15 things to give away. Most of these things were clothes that I had long since stopped wearing, but I held on them because . . . well, just because. In fact I have no idea why I still had a tie I hadn't worn in four years or a shirt that no longer fit.

I still own way more than 39 things, but getting rid of some of them felt amazingly good. In the process, I realized how much holding on to those things was actually costing me. That is the paradox.

When we hold on to stuff we no longer want or use, it does indeed cost us something more, if only in the time spent organizing and contemplating them. I can't tell you how many times I have thought about getting rid of that tie (for instance), and every time I went to choose a shirt for the day, I would think about the few that no longer fit.

Even though Hyde's example is an extreme one, I love thinking about extreme examples because they have the power to compel us to act. In this case I found myself thinking:

  • Why exactly do you own what you own?
  • What could you get rid of and not miss?
  • Do I really still need that?
  • What is it costing me to own that?

Maybe the attachment to stuff comes in part from a notion that we should be prepared for anything. When David Friedlander interviewed Mr. Hyde about his project, he highlighted this issue:

Americans in particular like to be prepared for the worst-case-scenario, having separate cookie cutters for Christmas and Halloween. We seldom consider how negligible the consequences are when we running out of something or are unprepared. Nor do we consider how high the consequences are for being over-prepared…

Think about that for a second: there's a consequence for being over-prepared. Often that consequence goes beyond the financial cost. It can easily have a physical cost that we didn't expect, say in the need for more space to put all of our stuff.

In a way, this all circles back to the notion of buying good things and holding on to them for a long time. It can help to think in terms of, “Do I have room-physical, emotional, mental-to bring one more thing into my life?”

If the idea of cutting down on your possessions is equally appealing, but still daunting, start simple:

  1. At the end of every season, go through your clothes. If you didn't wear it one time, get rid of it.
  2. This process will generate a stack of stuff. For what it's worth, don't try to sell it on eBay. It's another cost (in time). So save yourself a headache, donate it to a charity and take the tax credit.

You don't need to get down to 39 possessions to feel the impact. Instead, this exercise is about getting clear on why you own what you own and what it might be costing you to own it.

Obama Takes Aim at Ryan in Iowa


COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - President Obama plans to come out swinging at Mitt Romney's new running mate on Monday, accusing Representative Paul D. Ryan of blocking the farm bill that is meant to help farmers and ranchers in the midst of a severe drought.

During his first full day of campaigning since the Wisconsin congressman joined the Republican ticket, the president, his aides said, planned to focus on Mr. Ryan, who is also campaigning in Iowa.

“If you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities,” Mr. Obama will say in his speech, excerpts of which were released Monday before a planned appearance in Council Bluffs to kick off his bus tour.

The House Republican leadership chose not to bring a committee-passed farm bill to the floor for a vote before the August recess, fearing a Republican split over spending and farm price supports.

Mr. Obama's campaign has unleashed a barrage of criticism of Mr. Ryan, and at times it seemed as if the Wisconsin Congressman was at the top of the Republican ticket instead of Mr. Romney. Mr. Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, told CBS's “This Morning” that while Mr. Ryan was “a genial fellow,” he believed his selection was similar to Senator John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin four years ago, a choice that initially generated much excitement. Mr. Axelrod pointed out that Mr. Ryan favors policies that would cut back Medicare and put a greater burden on the less fortunate.

Mr. Obama was planning to push that message when he starts campaigning on Monday, his aides said. The choice of Council Bluffs was significant not only because Iowa is so critical to the president's re-election hopes, but also because it is just across the Missouri River from Omaha, and in the same television market. With Nebraska's split electoral map, the president is trying to scrape as many votes as he can get. In 2008, he won the state's 2nd District, the first time a Democrat did so since 1964; the win gave him one electoral vote in Nebraska to Mr. McCain's four.

White House officials said the president would address the drought, which has destroyed crops, and would direct the Agriculture Department to buy up to $170 million of meat and poultry to help relieve farmers and ranchers. The president has been pushing for passage of the farm bill, but Democrats and Republicans have been fighting over farm subsidies and food stamp items in the bill.

Female Moderators Chosen for Debates


The moderating duties for the four presidential and vice presidential debates this year will be evenly split between male and female journalists for the first time.

Jim Lehrer of PBS, Bob Schieffer of CBS, Candy Crowley of CNN, and Martha Raddatz of ABC will be the moderators, the Commission on Presidential Debates said Monday morning. The first debate will take place on Oct. 3 in Denver.

The announcement followed a period of public scrutiny around the fact that only one woman has moderated a presidential debate in the quarter-century that the commission has been holding them. Three 16-year-olds from New Jersey posted an online petition, “It's Time for a Female Moderator,” earlier this year and gained more than 100,000 supporters. When they tried to deliver the petition to the commission's office in Washington
earlier this month, no one was available to meet with them.

On Monday, the commission indicated that Ms. Crowley would become the first woman to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson did
so in 1992. But the announcement still fell short of some expectations. The Oct. 16 debate to be led by Ms. Crowley, the host of the Sunday morning public affairs program “State of the Union” on CNN, will have a town meeting format with citizens asking the questions, not a traditional debate format with a moderator asking the questions.

Ms. Raddatz, the senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC, will moderate the vice presidential debate, with a traditional format, on Oct. 11, a few days before the event moderated by Ms. Crowley. Vice presidential debates have been moderated by a woman twice before, bot h times by Gwen Ifill of PBS.

Mr. Lehrer, the former anchor of the “PBS NewsHour,” will be back for his twelfth turn as debate moderator, leading off on Oct. 3. Mr. Schieffer, the host of “Face the Nation” on CBS, will moderate the last presidential debate on Oct. 22. Mr. Schieffer similarly led the last debate between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008, and he scored a coup on Sunday when he had the first joint television interview of Mitt Romney and his running mate Representative Paul Ryan.

The commission made no public comment on Monday about the decision to include two women for the first time. The media-savvy teenagers from New Jersey, though, were ready with comments in advance, thanks to the group Change.org. (Barbara Walters moderated several presidential debates before the
commission took charge of the process in 1988.)

“Through this campaign, millions of Americans learned that two decades passed without a woman moderating a U.S. presidential debate,” one of
the young women, Emma Axelrod, said in a statement. “We are so proud to have helped educate Americans on this issue and are extremely happy that women and girls watching the debates this year will see a potential role model up on the stage moderating.”

Though a coup for the teenagers, the announcement may not necessarily be viewed as a coup for female journalists. Last week, high-level women in the television news industry, who w spoke only on condition of anonymity, wondered whether women would be selected to moderate the two traditional debates. They noted that those assignments have the highest prestige and authority. And on Monday, those assignments went to Mr. Lehrer and Mr. Schieffer, longtime moderators.

The selections were first identified on Monday by The Drudge Report before being confirmed by the commission.

In an email message celebrating the selection of Ms. Raddatz, the ABC News president Ben Sherwood wr ote of the four debates, they “will air on all networks and cable news stations, public television and radio, commercial radio, and will be live-streamed online.” He added, “Since 1988, the Commission has sponsored the only sanctioned debates; they
are each watched by many millions of Americans; and they usually deliver some of the most memorable moments of the campaign.”

Jodi Kantor contributed reporting to this article.

Monday Reading: Is Your Family Ready for a Volunteer Trip?


A variety of consumer-focused articles appears daily in The New York Times and on our blogs. Each weekday morning, we gather them together here so you can quickly scan the news that could hit you in your wallet.

For Ryan\'s First Solo Outing as Candidate, a Soapbox Appearance at the Iowa State Fair


DES MOINES - Representative Paul D. Ryan is going solo, and for his first outing alone as the Republican vice-presidential candidate he has chosen a particularly exposed high-wire appearance: a political soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

Mr. Ryan, who parted ways with Mitt Romney in Milwaukee on Sunday evening after two days of joint campaigning, will appear Monday afternoon at a locale famous for unscripted give-and-takes with skeptical voters.

A year ago, Mr. Romney was challenged by the crowd at the Iowa State Fair and blurted out, “Corporations are people, my friend,” a line that came to haunt him.

The soapbox, on the Grand Concourse, is sponsored by The Des Moines Register. By tradition a candidate gets 20 minutes to speak and often takes questions from the crowd. Mr. Ryan, who excels at town-hall-style events in which his mastery of policy is on display, will have the opportunity to show his grace under pressure.

Last year, while still just one of many Republican contenders, Mr. Romney was aggressively challenged on his assertions about Medicare, Social Security and taxes. A heckler shouted a remark about corporations. “Corporations are people, my friend,” Mr. Romney replied. “Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.”

The lines achieved YouTube immortality and were repeated by critics to show Mr. Romney's supposed indifference to the little guy.

It was also one of rare events at which Mr. Romney took questions from an audience not composed of supporters controlled by his campaign.

On Saturday, Gov. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa said he would escort Mr. Rya n around the fair. Most of the state's Congressional candidates are scheduled to speak on the soapbox this week. Tom Vilsack, the United States agriculture secretary, is to speak on behalf of President Obama on Tuesday morning.

While Mr. Ryan is from a neighboring state, Wisconsin, he is one of the few leading Republican figures who has rarely visited Iowa. When asked last year why he was a stranger, he said he didn't want to raise suspicions about his own political intentions.

Mr. Obama will also be in Iowa on Monday, beginning a three-day visit that will take him to many communities in the battle ground state â€" but so far, not to the State Fair soapbox.

Tea Party Hopes to Gain Larger Stage in Election With Romney\'s Pick


For two years, Tea Party lawmakers in the House have been the stubborn barbarians at the gate, strong-arming their often reluctant Republican colleagues by refusing to compromise on spending, taxes, debt or social policy.

But Representative Paul D. Ryan's ascendancy to the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket is a signal event for a movement that counts him as one of their own. If Mitt Romney wins in November, a Tea Party favorite will be a heartbeat from the Oval Office.

More than that, Mr. Ryan is now unquestionably the face of the Tea Party caucus in Washington, and his success is certain to embolden House lawmakers whose proudly unyielding approach to governance has contributed to legislative gridlock.

Once considered a fringe of the conservative coalition, Tea Party lawmakers are now indisputably at the core of the modern Republican Party.

“Governor Romney's selection of Congressman Paul Ryan is an excellent choice and a game changer for the presidential election,” Representative Kevin Brady of Texas said in a statement. “It's now a campaign of ideas on how best to get this economy moving again, balance the budget and restore America.”

He added: “My guess is that Barack Obama has a sick feeling in his stomach today.”

For Mr. Romney, the choice has quickly helped to validate him in the eyes of skeptical Tea Party members in the House. Many in the movement had worried that a President Romney would hardly be an ally for their legislative goals.

Choosing Mr. Ryan eases those concerns even as it signals a shift in the movement's balance of power.

“Selecting someone like Paul Ryan, wh o is so popular with Tea Party activists, proves that Mitt Romney is committed to addressing the economic issues that have been troubling our nation for the last four years,” Amy Kremer, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, the movement's largest political action committee, said in a statement.

Mr. Romney's emergence as the presumptive Republican nominee earlier this year raised questions about whether Tea Party supporters would find themselves marginalized in an election season dominated by the party's establishment.

In fact, the movement has expanded. Tea Party voters in Texas helped the Senate candidate Ted Cruz defeat David Dewhurst, the state's lieutenant governor. In Indiana, the Tea Party ousted the veteran Senator Richard G. Lugar. And in Wisconsin, activists helped Gov. Scott Walker survive his recall election.

At a Wisconsin Tea Party rally last month just before the recall, Mr. Ryan stood in solidarity with the movement as he urged its memb ers to unite behind Mr. Walker. “The nucleus of our society, of our economy? It's not government. It's us. It's we the people. It's the individual,” he said. “The whole country is watching.”

Mr. Ryan, in his speech accepting the role of Mr. Romney's running mate, said he had reached across the aisle to find solutions that are workable to members of both parties.

“I have worked closely with Republicans as well as Democrats to advance an agenda of economic growth, fiscal discipline and job creation,” Mr. Ryan said.

But his success may help to harden the political impasse in Washington between Democrats and Republicans, and between the House and the Senate. A huge postelection debate is looming over the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts and entitlement spending, issues on which Mr. Ryan has been urging Tea Party members to stand firm.

If Republicans win the White House in the fall but fail to take the Senate from the Democrats, Tea Party members in the House may see even less reason to compromise on their drive to make the federal government smaller.

“Congressman Ryan wants the same thing we do: to pass pro-growth policies and shrink the size and scope of government,” said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group. “No one understands the dire consequences we face by continuing to ignore our spending problem better than Congressman Ryan, and no one can do a better job of articulating a vision of how to fix it.”

Within the Tea Party caucus, Mr. Ryan is not the most absolutist. He voted for the bailout of big banks known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, at the end of President George W. Bush's second term. And he voted for the bailout of the auto industry. Both actions are anathema to some Tea Party lawmakers. And in some ways, he is not the Tea Party archetype. A six-term congressman who has worked in Washington his entire career, Mr. Ryan is an insider-type politician who works from within the system, not against it.

But as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Mr. Ryan has resisted pressure from some in his party's leadership to compromise with the Obama administration in the interests of a grand bargain that many Tea Party members see as selling out.

And his far-reaching budget plans have attracted Tea Party support for the same reason that they have generated such fierce Democratic opposition: because they would go so far in reshaping the country's longstanding fiscal obligations.

President Obama's campaign released a 90-second video attacking Mr. Ryan on Saturday. The video uses an old clip of the newly minted vice-presidential candidate bragging that “I put out a very comprehensive plan rewriting the health care system, Medicare, Social Security, our entire tax system.”

The Democrats intend that as an attack, but for Tea Party members it is a de facto mission statement.

Three years ago, the Tea Party movement emerged as a vehicle to protest Mr. Obama's health care legislation. Members followed up with a wave of political victories in the 2010 midterm elections that gave the movement a strong - if not always organized and coherent - voice in Congress.

Now, Mr. Ryan's place on the national ticket testifies to the staying power of the Tea Party ideology and provides a single person around which the movement can coalesce. When he delivers his remarks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this month, Mr. Ryan will be speaking for the Tea Party as much as anyone else.

Tea Party activists are still likely to make some mischief at the convention, just as some of the movement's lawmakers in the House Republican caucus will no doubt find reasons to fault Mr. Ryan.

But every movement needs someone to help it focus. For the Tea Party, Mr. Ryan appears to be that man.