Mitt Romney’s campaign conveyed excitement and passion in their introduction of Paul Ryan this morning. The Wisconsin congressman spoke to the crowd about a vision for the future in a way that others in the GOP field, Romney included, have had trouble articulating. The GOP presidential nominee even signalled a switch in his campaign to a “positive governing agenda that will lead to economic growth,” a bid to inherit Ronald Reagan’s playbook of running against Washington while remaining a sunny figure.

The one problem this morning — outside of a few minor gaffes — is that this announcement was very early in the morning on the West Coast (6:30 a.m.), and I suspect that few outside the media or very politically attuned set their alarms. The Romney campaign may have concluded that coverage would be extensive enough in the coming days and weeks, or that staging it at that hour guaranteed them the maximum amount of surprise and focus.

Now the attention will be on whether a largely negative race turns into a positive one about two competing visions for the country, something that President Obama’s campaign says it has wanted all along. That may happen, but even genuine debates on issues have a way of devolving into scary ads about the future of Medicare. Two months from now, the debate may even be about whether Ayn Rand took government benefits.

Ryan’s speech is below.

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