14 things you probably don't know about Paul Ryan8/11/2012
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is officially presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney's pick for running mate, but whether you’re familiar with the Wisconsin congressman or just heard of him an hour ago, here are 14 things you might not know about Ryan:
1. Ryan was first elected to Congress in 1998, at the ripe old age of 28.
2. He was voted the "biggest brown noser" of his 1988 high school class in Janesville, Wis., according to the AP. Ryan's response? "At least I didn't have a mullet."
3. Perhaps to make up for the brown-noser thing, Ryan was also the prom king at his high school.
4. Ryan worked at a McDonald's kitchen for a summer during high school. "The manager didn't think I had the social skills to work the counter," he told The New Yorker. "And now I'm in Congress!"
5. Ryan made Ayn Rand required reading for all his office staff and interns. Although he had said early in his political career that Rand inspired him to get involved in public service, Ryan later distanced himself from the famously atheist author's philosophy.
6. Barack Obama signed an autograph for Ryan's then-7-year-old daughter, Liza, at a House Republicans retreat in 2010.
7. Ryan enjoys hunting, and his wedding announcement in the local paper several years ago mentioned he does his own skinning and butchering and makes his own bratwurst, a favorite food in Wisconsin. These days, Ryan is teaching his daughter, now 9, how to shoot a .243 light-caliber Remington 700 bolt-action hunting rifle.
8. The extremely lucky congressman got to drive the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile while he was a college student working for the company.
9. Having previously been a fitness trainer, Ryan leads other congressmen in the P90X workout when Congress is in session.
10. He doesn’t demand any fancy setups — while in Washington, Ryan lives in his office and sleeps on a rollaway bed.
11. During a trip to Oklahoma to visit in-laws, Ryan took part in some traditional hand-fishing. Also known as noodling, it involves sticking your hand in catfish holes, punching the fish and then wrestling it out of the water with your bare hands.
12. When he was 16, Ryan found his father dead in bed of a heart attack, and it fell to him to tell his mother and his three older siblings that his father had died. It left the family alone, but the Social Security benefits from his father’s death helped him pay his way through college.
13. Ryan reportedly has a gift exchange with U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, also from Wisconsin, that started after Sensenbrenner gave him a reindeer that crapped out candy. Ryan responded with a beautiful Tiffany’s box, neatly packed with nose-hair trimmers.
14. Ryan Inc., the construction company started by his family in 1884, did some of the original construction on what became Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, though these days they have more extensive experience in environmental contracting, including new landfills and similar projects.
Sources: 1, 8, 9 Daily Caller; 2-4, 6 The New Yorker; 5 National Review; 7 National Review Online and Human Events; 10 The Weekly Standard; 11 National Review Online; 12, 13 Wisconsin Policy Research Institute; 14 Ryan Incorporated Central
Do these facts make you more likely to vote for the GOP ticket?