A little more than a week ago, Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States." The former Massachusetts governor quickly remembered what position he was running for so he could laughingly admit and correct his freudian slip before Ryan wound his way to the podium.
So, what do we know about Paul Ryan?
Apparently he was prom king, worked at McDonald's and drove the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile -- not necessarily at the same time.
He's such a fitness buff, he's gotten some of his coworkers hooked on P90X. Aside from fitness, he's also a fan of elk hunting and catching catfish with his bare hands.
As for the seven-term congressman's work ethic, he's not afraid to burn the midnight oil and even sleep in his office. At 42, he's young enough to keep going and going.
Romney, and the Republican Party in general, are banking on that energy and ability to rile up the conservative base.
While Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has a long record of political achievements, including working for both Bush administrations, The New York Times once called him "one of the few Republicans who regularly form alliances with Democrats to get legislation enacted." With Romney being considered moderate -- after being called the conservative alternative to Sen. John McCain four years ago -- he needed a young, outspoken conservative to join him.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ran as an alternative to Romney. Supporting him after an early exit wasn't going to be enough for Pawlenty, especially considering his lack of name recognition at the national level. Plus, if he couldn't generate enough buzz over his own campaign, what could he really offer to Romney's?
Early on, I thought Romney might go with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as his running mate, considering how Christie was so outspoken in his support for the presumptive nominee. While he has "a fire in the belly," as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour calls it, and knack for shutting down hecklers, he just doesn't have the conservative chops Romney, or the GOP, was looking for.
And then there's Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who simply doesn't have a national budget proposal with his name on it. Jindal, and probably just about everyone else on this list, will likely remain players in the national Republican scene.
With last Saturday's announcement, though, the Romney campaign is securely hitched to the "Ryan budget" and people on both sides of the aisle are excited about it. Republicans think it will drum up support from conservatives, while Democrats think it will turn off independents.
It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Ryan's budget proposal changes throughout this process as his ideas merge with Romney's plans.
Regardless, the battle between that budget and "Obamacare" has officially begun.