BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Former congressman Bill Thomas and Rep. Kevin McCarthy have no doubt that Paul Ryan would be ready to fill the president's shoes if necessary.
"Without a doubt. Not only would he step up, he'd unite people," McCarthy said.
The current and immediate past representative for California's 22nd Congressional District gave glowing accounts of the Wisconsin congressman who was named Mitt Romney's running mate. They cheered not only Ryan's knowledge of policy but his ability to achieve results.
Thomas said some may ask, "Gee, isn't (Ryan) a little young and doesn't he only talk about policy?"
"To both of those my answer is, 'Yes, isn't that wonderful?'" Thomas said.
The former congressman worked to get Ryan onto the House Ways and Means Committee, which Thomas chaired from 2001 to 2006.
Thomas described Ryan as a bright, adept addition to the committee.
"Most of our relationship (in Congress) was me trying to talk with him about how you can get something done without sacrificing major policy provisions," Thomas said.
The retired legislator said no one understands the relationship between the nation's two key safety nets, Social Security and Medicare, better than Ryan and that the candidate would bring that knowledge to the role of vice president.
Thomas lauded Ryan's personality as well, calling him "wholesome."
"Paul Ryan is an absolute delight. He's bright, he has a wonderful personality," Thomas said.
McCarthy also had only good things to say about Ryan. McCarthy and Ryan formed Young Guns along with Virginia representative Eric Cantor aiming to revitalize the Republican party and wrote the book "Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders."
McCarthy described Ryan as a good friend and one of the smartest people he has met. Politically, Ryan is a straight shooter who "doesn't play politics with the issues," the Bakersfield congressman said.
"I think he's going to bring that energy back," McCarthy said. "This is really going to be a campaign about ideas now."