The Washington Times - August 11, 2012, 04:38PM

Democrats on Saturday afternoon were already using the Romney campaign’s vice presidential pick of Rep. Paul Ryan to rally donors.

In an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Kelly Ward warns that “Romney’s pick of Ryan will open the floodgates to new campaign donations from conservatives.”

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“This is a big moment,” the DCCC political director writes. “Mitt Romney is going to raise tens of millions of dollars off of the Paul Ryan VP announcement. We have to have President Obama’s back right now. … Don’t let them use this moment to beat us. Help us keep pace.”

But behind-the-scenes, Obama campaign operatives were confident about taking on Mr. Ryan.

One unnamed Democrat told the National Journal the election is now effectively over. Another told the Journal they could now use campaign donations to buy margarita machines because the party is about to start.

On the record, the Obama campaign wasted no time Saturday in painting a target on the Wisconsin Republican, with the president’s re-election website warning that the Ryan budget “would turn Medicare into a voucher program, increasing seniors’ costs by up to $6,350 per year.”

Campaign manager Jim Messina, in a statement emailed to reporters, said Mr. Ryan favors “the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy.”

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, which Mr. Ryan chairs, told NBC News he likes his fellow House member, but said the Ryan pick “is essentially telling independent voters to take a hike.”

“I think it will help the president and other Democratic candidates win the middle,” he said.