Romney flubs running mate Ryan's introduction
Wisconsin congressman slams Obama's record
Mitt Romney could have said almost anything to a buoyant crowd ready to welcome his new running mate and it would have been OK. But flubbing Paul Ryan's big intro evoked a moment of "Say what?" uncertainty.
About 1,000 people had queued in long lines starting before daylight to be the first to hail the Wisconsin congressman who became a conservative hero for championing deep spending cuts.
People beamed, leaning forward, standing on tiptoes, craning their necks as Romney set up the most anticipated debut of his candidacy.
Then Romney says, "… the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan."
Snickers and puzzled expressions muted a building ovation for a heartbeat or two. But then came a throaty outburst, nearly drowned out by heroic movie-theme music loud enough to be felt through the pavement, as Ryan bounded down the bunting-draped steps from the USS Wisconsin, gave Romney a quick hug and joined him in waving to a crowd aflutter with flags.
After Ryan had already launched into his speech about unabashed budgetary austerity, traditional values and the failures of President Barack Obama's Democratic White House, Romney stepped back onstage to smilingly correct his gaffe.
"I did not make a mistake with this guy," Romney told the crowd, and it was quickly forgotten.
After all, Obama made the same flub four years ago introducing his running mate and corrected himself instantly: "So let me introduce to you, the next president —the next vice president — of the United States of America, Joe Biden!"