When Mitt Romney began seriously considering Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate earlier this summer, many of the political professionals who staff his Boston headquarters were skeptical. They realized the political liabilities posed by Ryan's controversial budget. They worried that his status as a Capitol Hill mainstay would undermine the candidate's Washington outsider image. And they recognized that adding a bold conservative visionary to the ticket could well kill any notion that this election was a referendum on President Obama.
But while Romney's staff had their doubts, the Congressman had the support of a separate, and increasingly influential set of advisers who have long had the candidate's ear: His wife and five sons.
According to people close to the family and campaign, Ann Romney and the most politically engaged of the brothers were early advocates for Ryan to join the ticket, having grown friendly with him and his wife over the course of the summer's vetting process. Mrs. Romney and Janna Ryan "got along famously" as they got to know each other, said one source, while Tagg Romney — an increasingly crucial adviser to his father this year — grew to like and respect Ryan as he crossed paths with him on the campaign trail.