Nightly News | August 14, 2012
>>> from now through the gop convtion and all the way to the fall election in 85 days this is really the shakedown for congressman paul ryan of witness witness as number two on this ticket. americans are taking a good look at his record now, especially in his specialty area. the economy. he's running as a deficit hawk . kelly o'donnell takes a look at the ryan voting record.
>> reporter: sworn in seven times since 1999 to serve wisconsin's first district.
>> we're not just here to get a lapel pin that says we're members of congress. we're here to try to fix this country's problems.
>> reporter: he's co sponsored 975 bills and cast more than 4,000 votes. best known as the house republican charts and graphs guy, who actually relishes number crunching . so much so, colleagues call ryan the teacher.
>> i sleep soundly knowing what i'm trying to do is help fix this country's problems. reapply our founding principles to the times of the day, and get the country back on track.
>> reporter: his voting record sometimes conflicts with his identity as a fiscal conservative . the bank bailout known as tarp that tea party conservatives rail against today. ryan voted for medicare prescription drug coverage, backed both wars in iraq and afghanist afghanistan, and backed the bush tax cuts . speaker john boehner defended ryan 's record.
>> i think that he's a practical conservati conservative. he's got a conservative voting record, he's not a knuckle dragger.
>> reporter: conservative on social issues like abortion rights and gay maiage. he's sided with democrats on workplace anti-discrimination. some union rights and he partnered publicly with key democrats on budget and health coverage. still democrats say don't be swayed by ryan 's midwestern nice.
>> let's not confuse civility with a willingness to compromise.
>> reporter: now, some nonpartisan rankings show that ryan is about average for working with democrats on legislation. in his campaign, he's working against president obama to argue his administration has made the deficit so much worse. ryan also admits when he looks back on some of his own votes, he feels miserable about policies that added to the deficit too. brian?
>> kelly o'donnell covers the hill