Paul Ryan is Romney Running Mate

House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan gets the nod as Mitt Romney's choice for vice president.

As Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has risen in the vice-presidential sweepstakes, a few political observers have joked that the athletic 42-year-old congressman, with his jet-black hair and square jaw, looks like one of Romney’s five sons. But according to Romney confidants, Ryan’s appeal to the former Massachusetts governor is more professional than filial.

“He is the kind of smart, young guy that Mitt likes and Mitt would have probably hired at Bain,” says Mike Murphy, a former Romney adviser. “He shares the intellectual talent and positive outlook of the guys who Mitt mentored for decades.”

According to Romney insiders, Romney deeply appreciated Ryan’s willingness to privately share his critique of the campaign during the heated Republican primary, where Romney often struggled to make his case. As he watched from afar, long before he endorsed, Ryan drafted a series of detailed strategy and policy advisories, and discussed them with Romney over the phone. For Romney, those corporate-style memos made a lasting impression — and catapulted Ryan into Romney’s circle, where he has remained since.