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Video: Who is Paul Ryan?

Cliff notes on Mitt Romney's running mate.

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The headline that US Representative Paul Ryan would become Mitt Romney's choice for Vice President came, not over the news wire, but via social media today.

Which brings us to the inevitable question: Who is Paul Ryan?

Paul Ryan is a Republican who represents Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District and is Chairman of the House Budget Committee, which writes the country's overall budget plan.

Ryan is known for his conservative economic positions. When he revealed his budget plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” many conservatives trumpeted it as a serious and brave answer to America's ills.

Of course, Ryan is not without his detractors. The Atlantic's James Fallows gave oppositional voice against Ryan's plan, calling it "partisan" and "gimmicky." New York Times' resident Nobel Prize winning economist and opinion man Paul Krugman called Ryan's plan, "Ludicrous and cruel."

Here's a little of what everyone was arguing about:

Here are parts 2 and 3.

Ryan is also a senior member of the US House Committee on Means and Ways, a tax-writing body that presides over a number of programs, including:

• Social Security

• Unemployment benefits

• Medicare

• Enforcement of child support laws

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal welfare program

• Foster care and adoption program

Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, graduated Joseph A. Craig High School, and received a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio, according to his website.

Two of Ryan's heroes, according to the Journal Sentinel, are novelist Ayn Rand and economist Milton Friedman.

Friedman won the Nobel Prize in economics for work that said a free democracy depended on free market capitalism. Perhaps his most famous work is "Capitalism and Freedom."

Ryan is quoted in the Journal Sentinel as saying, "The reason I got involved in public service by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand."

Rand was, as Ryan is, a champion of laissez-faire economics.

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