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A supporter holds a photo Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan during a campaign rally at the Waukesha County Expo Center on August 12, 2012 in Waukesha, Wisc. - 

Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his V.P. surprised plenty of people: he's young, he's got plenty of legislative baggage. Polls suggest jobs are the number one issue in this campaign, but Ryan's claim-to-fame is deficit reduction.

A new piece in Politico suggests he's surprising for another reason: his passion for math. At least the math of federal budgets -- he's a substance and details guy. Politico's Glenn Thrush co-wrote the article and says Ryan is a fascinating pick because: "Romney has pretty much tried every single approach to Barack Obama, most of them negative. And this is kind of a Hail Mary approach on substance. It's not merely just a discussion of core conservative principles -- which I think a lot of people have cast this pick as being -- but it's really a move to change the tone of the conversation and really to kind of beat Barack Obama which is own 2008 messaging. This is really a throwback move to 'hope' and 'change' four years ago."

However, Thrush says the debates are going to be everything this year, and because Ryan will interject a real discussion on deficit reduction, it'll be important for the Romney campaign to remember the importance of the jobs discussion and bridge the two topics together.

Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich