Steve Pope / European Pressphoto Agency (m8pn6hpd20120813191837/600 )
DENVER -- In the three days since he was named Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul D. Ryan has cried in public, been heckled by a group of Iowans, and been the subject of a snarky Twitter feed, @PaulRyanGosling, that pounds him relentlessly with tweets such as “Hey girl, I'll be stumping at the Iowa State Fair today. And by 'stumping’ I mean raising taxes on funnel cakes.”
Welcome to the national political stage, Congressman.
Ryan has gone from being a representative in the House to a candidate for national office and has been subject to the scrutiny that comes with such a leap. Ryan is hardly a stranger to national politics – as chairman of the House Budget Committee, he appeared frequently on national media to talk about his budget plan. But now, the attention is focusing on the man himself – his hair, his fitness routine, his clothing – rather than just his policies.
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By all accounts, he’s handling the scrutiny well so far. When hecklers continuously interrupted his speech at the Iowa State Fair on Monday, he tried to address them, and when that didn’t work, he soldiered on through his stump speech, not stuttering once. Media made fun of his cowlick when he was unveiled as the vice presidential pick Saturday – his hair now appears to have undergone a Romney-sized dose of hair spray. And when he walked onto the stage Sunday wiping tears from his eyes at a homecoming rally in Wisconsin, he managed to use his emotion to rally the crowd further, as they cheered more loudly for him than they did for parts of Romney’s speech.
There’s not much he can do about the Twitter feed, though, which already has nearly 25,000 followers. The feed is an extention of an Internet meme that started with a blog showing pictures of Ryan Gosling and adding words, like “Hey, girl” -- such as, “Hey girl, I think my shirt fell off,” over a picture of Gosling without a shirt.
The PaulRyanGosling feed, which calls itself “the better Paul Ryan,” is distinctly anti-Ryan. Tweets have included “Hey girl, I know I'm only 42, but my ideas on women's rights are over 500 years old” and “Hey girl, I'm pro-life. But not necessarily yours.”
It began Saturday, the day Ryan was named as Romney’s choice. Which lends itself to the question – what would the Twitter feeds have been had someone else been named Romney’s pick? Mitch Daniels Radcliffe? Chris Christie Brinkley? Rand Paul Ryan?