Ryan, the nation’s most controversial budget architect, is often described as the intellectual leader of the House Republican caucus. But Romney’s presidential campaign headquarters in Boston seems, for now, to prefer that the 42-year-old father of three talks about camping and milking cows instead of the fiscal 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 as the vice presidential candidate. 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 said Friday in Virginia. ‘‘We will lead.’’
But Ryan has been directed to avoid taking questions from reporters who travel with him, and to agree only to a few carefully selected interviews. He is known for sketching budget graphs on napkins to explain his ideas, but this past week it was Romney who used a white board during a news conference to help detail his own plan — one he says is virtually identical to Ryan's.
‘‘I'm joining the Romney ticket,’’ Ryan told an Ohio television station this week. ‘‘It’s not the other way around. So I'm supporting the Mitt Romney plan.’’
Some of the Republican Party’s most passionate voters see it a different way. Reluctant to support Romney during the GOP primary, they favor Ryan and his ideas more than the former Massachusetts governor who will head the party’s ticket.