AP News in Brief at 5:58 p.m. EDT

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Associated Press

Posted on August 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Having made a risky pick, Romney wants running mate Paul Ryan to play it safe

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (AP) — Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney wants running mate Paul Ryan to play it safe.

The nation's most controversial budget architect, Ryan is often described as the intellectual leader of the House Republican caucus. But Romney's Boston headquarters — so far, at least — seems to prefer that the 42-year-old father of three talks about camping and milking cows instead of the transformational budget proposals that made him a conservative hero.

Ryan, who wrote a plan to overhaul Medicare as chairman of the House Budget Committee, did not use the word "Medicare" with voters over the first four days on the campaign trail. When he finally touched on the health care insurance program for seniors, he did so only in broad strokes after Romney himself first outlined the campaign's talking points.

"We will not duck the tough issues," Ryan declared in Virginia on Friday. "We will lead."

But Ryan has been directed to avoid taking questions from reporters who travel with his campaign and to agree only to a handful of carefully selected interviews. He is known for sketching budget graphs on napkins to explain his ideas, but this week it was Romney who used a white board during a news conference to help detail his own plan — and he says it's virtually identical to Ryan's.

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