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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Tonight, President Obama talks to the nation about the State of the Union. He's expected to say the economy, while growing, needs to kick it up a notch. One thing Republicans will be watching, is what the President will say about the deficit. The GOP's answer to Mr. Obama's budget plans is newly-tapped House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Many Americans will meet the Congressman for the first time when he gives the Republican response to the president's speech.
Janet Hook is Congressional reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She has a profile of Ryan in today's edition. Good morning.
JANET HOOK: Good morning.
CHIOTAKIS: So why are Republicans putting so much budget faith in this guy?
HOOK: Well, he happens to be one of the best educated members of the House on budget issues. He's really quite a policy wonk. You know his idea of fun is reading budgets and CBO reports.
CHIOTAKIS: Any hint of what he thinks needs cutting from the budget? He's got some ideas right?
HOOK: Frankly I think the man thinks everything needs to be cut in the budget. And so he's proposed something called the "Road Map for America's Future." And it talks about making changes in social security, Medicare and discretionary spending. And that's why he's such a lightening rod, but also why a lot of people respect him for trying to take the big picture on the problems.
CHIOTAKIS: Now he's an up-and-comer in the party, perhaps even a Senate candidate in a couple of years, yet he sided with the Wall Street Bailout. How's that going to play with the not-so-Wall-Street Tea Party?
HOOK: He got some flack from it at the time. I think that may come back to haunt him if he does pursue higher office. At the time a lot of Republican leaders did step out and support the bailout of Wall Street. What was significant for him is that he's a big free market advocate. And I think at the time his line was he supported this to basically shore up the free market.
CHIOTAKIS: Janet Hook, a Congressional reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Janet, thanks.
HOOK: Thank you.