Romney’s bumble, Ryan’s hair and all the really big news
Mitt Romney botched his introduction of his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, on Saturday morning, but the Republican has good company. Candidate Barack Obama also gave his running mate, Joe Biden, an inadvertent “promotion” four years ago when he introduced the Delaware senator at a rally in Springfield, Ill.
The earlier Obama flub suggests that Romney’s gaffe, as awkward as it appeared on live television, will not have any long-term effect on the Republican ticket, nor will some other incongruous bits of stagecraft in the Romney-Ryan roll out.
In introducing Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, in front of the battleship Wisconsin on Saturday morning, Romney said: “Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan.” Ryan came to take the microphone, but Romney quickly returned and added: “Every now and then I’m known to make a mistake. I did not make a mistake with this guy. But I can tell you this, he’s going to be the next vice president of the United States.”
Speaking at his own late-August VP rollout in 2008, then-Sen. Obama said: “Let me introduce to you, the next president -- the next vice president -- of the United States, Joe Biden.” Obama’s misstep was slightly less awkward because he caught himself immediately. But give both men this consideration: Both Obama and Romney had become accustomed to hearing themselves introduced, at rally after rally, as the next president (without the vice) and the rhythm of the remark must have become embedded in their gray matter.
The appearance of the Republicans in front of a U.S. Navy ship might also strike some as a mismatch, since neither man served in the military. It would be hard for the Democratic ticket to make much of that point, though, since President Obama and Biden also did not serve.
More telling in changing the dynamic of the Romney campaign will likely be Ryan’s career-long service in the public sector. The Wisconsin lawmaker joined the House at 28 after working for other politicians. That background will make it much more difficult for Romney to deploy his routine stump line that Obama “never worked a day in the private sector.”
Other oddities unveiled with Saturday’s V.P. announcement centered more on the disparate style choices of Romney and Ryan. Top of the ticket Romney went with a standard white dress shirt and tie, sleeves rolled to the wrists. Ryan wore a white shirt and no tie and what appeared to be a suit jacket borrowed from the Big Men’s store.
Twitter wags immediately jumped all over the Republicans’ fashion disparity. Sasha Issenberg of the online magazine Slate asked: “Who on Romney’s staff gets to take Paul Ryan shopping?” Matt Viser of the Boston Globe jabbed: “Paul Ryan in jacket, no tie. Mitt Romney in tie, no jacket. Together they make a full suit.”
The Republicans were somewhat more unified when it came to hair style. Campaign consultant David Di Martino wondered on the microblogging site: “Would #Romney-Ryan be the first all hair-pomade ticket?” Though others noted that only Ryan appeared to be insufficiently slicked down. A cowlick sprang from the back of his head, enhancing the boyish look.
Those not riveted by the implications for Ryan’s Medicare proposal need not fret. The feed @PaulRyansHair provides blissful distance from all that is substantive. The tweeter who runs the site sums up Rep. Ryan’s robust do thusly: “Like someone dyed and shellac’d Raggedy Andy on top of Paul Ryan’s head.”
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