Even before Wisconsin sent Paul Ryan to Congress, he was meticulously carving a path that seemed to point only upward.

As a young Capitol Hill staffer, he impressed Republican lawmakers with his hustle and intellectual curiosity. He blended quickly with an elite crop of conservative thinkers. By his 30s, he was a congressman on his way to becoming a GOP name brand with his push-the-edge budget proposals.

Ryan’s climb reached new heights Saturday when Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced him as his running mate.

“Mitt’s Choice for VP is Paul Ryan,” said a phone app Romney’s team created to spread the word to supporters.

As the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan gives Romney a link to Capitol Hill leadership and underscores Romney’s effort to make the election a referendum on the nation’s economic course. Romney also could see his standing improve in Wisconsin, a state President Barack Obama won handily four years ago but that could be much tighter this November.

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