Before one was House Majority Leader and the other was running to be vice president, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Paul Ryan served on the Committee on Ways and Means together.
Through hearings, deliberations and committee meetings the two got to know each other, and years later, became two of the “Young Guns,” a trio of young, conservative lawmakers.
On Wednesday night, Cantor sat in the Tampa Bay Times Forum watching Ryan accept the Republican Party’s vice presidential nomination. With him was Speaker of the House John Boehner and the third “Young Gun” — Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch in a restaurant steps from the forum, Cantor on Thursday said he thought his colleague “did a terrific job.”
“First of all, he laid out the context of the debate and what has led us to this point as a country in terms of the real difference of visions that the public’s going to have to choose come November,” he said.
Cantor thinks Ryan’s addition to the ticket will appeal to the younger generation, “people who are looking to see a more optimistic future.”
He particularly liked the part of Ryan’s speech when he said “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”
“I think it’s that message of getting back to work, making it so life works for families again and that we can re-assume this sort of aspirational posture of America that we’ve been missing over the last four years,” Cantor said.
The second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives attended three days of the convention, mingling with the Virginia delegation, attending receptions and on Thursday, participating in a panel discussion about education hosted by Bloomberg.
There, he was joined by two former Cabinet secretaries under President George W. Bush’s administration, Condoleezza Rice and Margaret Spellings, as well as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Javier Palomarez, the president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
When Cantor leaves Tampa, his political work won’t be over: he’ll meet Ryan and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for a rally in Richmond.