He and Mitt Romney have a bromance.
From the moment Ryan was revealed as the VP nominee, reporters took notice of “an easy and instant chemistry” between the two running mates. The New York Times said of their first few days campaigning together: “They rarely left each other’s sight, exchanging hugs, backslaps and knowing smiles, as if they knew their time together might be short-lived.” The New Yorker even gave over one September cover to the adorable duo.
He does P90X on the campaign trail.
We’ll let USA Today writer Janice Lloyd say it: “The Wisconsin congressman is an avid fitness buff whose toned, lean body is chiseled by P90X routines.”
NPR political reporter Ari Shapiro creeped on Ryan in the hotel gym on the campaign trail: “At this point he was doing weights along with the pushups and sit-ups. Triceps, shoulders, chest. There was some deep breathing but no embarrassing grunting. He took regular water breaks from a cup on the workout bench.”
He is 100% anti-abortion and 100% anti-gay.
Those numbers aren’t just pulled out of thin air. The National Right To Life Committee gave him a 100/100 for his voting record in issues related to abortion rights and contraception access. Ryan believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including rape and incest, unless the mother’s life is at risk. He has said that he thinks states should be able to criminally prosecute women who preform or obtain abortions.
Ryan also got a 0/100 from Human Rights Campaign, and LGBTQ rights organization. He supports a constitutional ban on gay marriage, supports “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and has voted against a number of hate crime prevention acts.
He was elected to Congress at 28.
The GOP wunderkind won 57% of the vote in the 1998 election, becoming the second-youngest member of Congress.
That makes Ryan 42 today, 23 years younger than Mitt Romney and the same age as the presidential nominee’s oldest son.
Check out the baby-faced freshman talking about his family’s roots in Wisconsin back in ’98.
He doesn’t call Romney “The Stench”
Last week, Politico columnist Roger Simon wrote one clumsy bit of satire in which he spun a real comment by a GOP strategist that “if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.” Simon ran with the phrase, imagining Ryan “marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’.”
The joke apparently went over a few heads, like one Lawrence O’Donnell; the MSNBC host aired a 13-minutes segment on the story. O’Donnell apologized — but the column’s writer was also forced to add a bitter note to the end of his piece awkwardly clarifying its farcical nature.
Media demigod Jay Rosen summarized in a tweet: “If your satire confuses some people and they think it’s on the level, the reason could be dumb people… or bad satire” — or both.
Paul and Anne Ryan’s Secret Service code names are Bowhunter and Buttercup.
Yes, Buttercup from The Princess Bride. A staffer said it’s one of Ryan’s favorite movie’s and he uses the nickname for this wife.
Ryan’s codename is actually pretty badass. He’s an avid bowhunter in his home state of Wisconsin who cozied up to the community when he passed a bill lowering taxes on domestic arrow producers.
Fiscal conservative? He voted for the $700 billion bank bailout and the auto industry bailouts.
Ryan is a hard-edge fiscal conservative who, at one campaign stop this month, gave a PowerPoint presentation about the national debt. Small problem: he voted for the TARP bailout in 2008 and for both rounds of the auto-industry bailout, which Mitt Romney has critiqued.
He’s simultaneously running for reelection to his Congressional seat in Wisconsin.
Since he first won his seat in 1998, Ryan has never received less than 57% of the vote; in 2010, he won a whopping 68%.
This time around, he’s facing off against Democratic challenger Paul Zerban. He’s likely to keep his seat if this whole White House thing doesn’t work out: Ryan is 25 points ahead in the polls at has $5.4 million in his campaign war chest.
He’s the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
You could say he’s kind of a big deal. In 2011, he gave the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. He’s also become known in Congress for his budgets and fiscal plans, which are largely based in voucher-style privatization of Social Security and Medicare and deep cuts to social spending.
In fact, Romney called Ryan the “intellectual leader” of the Republican Party when he introduced the congressman as his running mate.
Despite his fixation with the budget, he’s pretty bad with numbers.
When asked about his marathon time, Ryan responded that he finished in “two hours and 50-something [minutes].” His actual time? 4:01:25.
To put that in perspective, that’s about how fast Lance Armstrong runs a marathon.
Ryan later clarified: “I thought I ran an ordinary, kind of normal time… I thought that that was an ordinary time.” In other words, when Ryan forgets numbers, he just makes up new ones and hopes no one notices.
That’s not a big deal for the chairman of the House Budget Committee, right?