CHICAGO — Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, reunited in Chicago in their first joint public appearance since their unsuccessful White House bid two years ago.
Ryan is on tour to promote his new book as he weighs a presidential campaign of his own. Romney interviewed Ryan on Thursday night on stage at the Union League Club of Chicago.
The event comes on the brink of the fall election season, with Republicans driving for the six-seat gain required to grab the Senate majority. Success would put the GOP in control of Congress and dramatically shape the final two years of President Barack Obama's term.
Even before Romney and Ryan took the stage, Democrats said the pairing is a reminder of failure. The GOP ticket lost both the Electoral College and popular votes to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. In a statement, the Democratic National Committee listed some of the Republican candidates' most memorable political gaffes, including Romney being caught on video telling donors that 47 percent of Americans would automatically vote for Obama because they don't pay income taxes and are "dependent upon government."
Romney has been campaigning for GOP candidates across the country, most recently for Rep. Tom Cotton this week in Arkansas. And Ryan, who says he doesn't know whether he'll run for president, has been promoting his book. Romney himself reviewed Ryan's manuscript and offered notes. And Ryan even sought advice from former Romney speechwriters and advisers during the writing.
The book includes the fullest account yet of how a 15-year-old Ryan found his alcoholic father dead in bed from an apparent heart attack. Ryan said recently that the event shaped him as a politician and family man.
Romney and Ryan became friends during the bruising Wisconsin primary, and Ryan proved a loyal and disciplined partner on the road, during both the primary and general elections.
Although writing a book is often seen as a prelude to a presidential campaign, Ryan has said he's not sure he's ready to spend more time away from Janesville, the small Wisconsin town where he grew up and where he and his wife, Janna, have raised their three children.