So far Democrats have responded to Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate by calling him a “good man,” a “family man” and a nice guy, yet attacking his ideas as “extreme.”

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told Matt Lauer during an appearance on NBC’s Today Show this morning that Ryan is “an extremely nice guy when you meet him.”

“That’s why it’s so disappointing that his views are so extreme,” Wasserman Schultz said, repeating between repeating Democratic talking points about the Ryan budget and what the pick says about Romney’s agenda.

Wasserman Schultz’s comments echo those made by President Obama earlier this week during an Iowa campaign stop when he was asked about the Ryan pick.

Obama gave Ryan a back-handed compliment, saying: “He’s a good man. He’s a family man. He’s a very articulate spokesman for Gov. Romney’s vision.”

That was before launching into comments about how Ryan’s vision is wrong for America.

And Obama attack dog David Axelrod describe Ryan as “a genial fellow”  whose views are quite “harsh” on CBS’s This Morning, echoing comments made by liberals about Dick Cheney after George W. Bush chose him as his running mate in 2000.

Yet Axelrod seemed stuck in dealing in clichés about Ryan’s supposed desire to harm the poor and the elderly while giving billions in tax cuts to the wealthy during his appearance on the Sunday talk shows.

Ryan’s likeability puts Democrats in a difficult position because it makes them have to deal with the issues rather than trying to make the House Budget Committee chairman out to be a buffoon like they did four years ago with Sarah Palin and 24 years ago with former Vice President Dan Quayle.

His personal story also stands in stark contrast with Romney’s because he is a living example of someone who got to where he is after working long hours in numerous service jobs and by shear will and determination, rather than by inherited privilege.

And unlike Palin, whose inexperience on the national stage came across loud and clear during her TV interviews in 2008, Ryan knows his stuff and can articulate ideas in a way that connects with voters.

This inability to frame Ryan as the Darth Vader or Lord Voldemort of 2012 has to have Democrats privately running scared.