At 42, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is among the youngest Vice Presidential candidates in American history. But RN in 1952 was just 39 when General Eisenhower added him to the ticket.
Though Ryan has gained accolades as the wonkish House budget chief, the future 37th President was already a Senator, one of the select members of the House to travel to Europe and review the performance of the Marshall Plan, and had gained national fame for his work on the case against accused Soviet Spy and later convicted perjurer Alger Hiss.
“Eisenhower wanted his campaign to be waged as a crusade against the corruption of the Truman administration and against its foreign policy, which he felt had played into the Communists’ hands in both Europe and Asia,” RN later said in his memoirs.
“He said that as an upstanding young man and a good speaker I should be able not only to flail the Democrats on the corruption issue but also personify a remedy for it. As for the communist threat, he said that the Hiss case was a text from which I could preach everywhere in the country.”
Jonathan Movroydis is the Director of Communications at the Richard Nixon Foundation.