It's Ryan! How'd Mitt Do?

08.11.12

7 Fun Facts About Paul Ryan

From noodling a whole mess of catfish to head-banging to Led Zeppelin, Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan is more than a number-crunching policy wonk. Here are seven things you likely didn’t know about the congressman and Ayn Rand devotee.

1. He Sleeps in His Office
An unabashed nerd and constant worker, Paul Ryan is known to often catch 40 winks on a cot in his House of Representatives office. Of course, that’s not Ryan’s only residence. When he’s at home in Janesville, Wisc.—the same town in which he was born and raised—Ryan lives in a six-bedroom, eight-bath home on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. He Does P90X
A health buff, Ryan—who brags about keeping his body fat around 6 percent—may be one of the most fit congressmen ever to walk the halls of the Capitol. His preferred workout is the P90X home-exercise program, which he’s gotten some other legislators join in on. “It’s a fantastic workout,” Ryan told Politico. “Bart Stupak and I lead it every morning. There’s about a dozen of us who do it.”

3. He’s a Bow Hunter
With Ryan, Romney may have pretty much locked up the antiquated-weapons crowd. While bows and arrows hardly draw as much political heat as concealed carry or handgun background checks, Ryan stands out among lawmakers for his prowess as a bow hunter. “Paul Ryan is congressman, statesman, and policymaker at our nation’s highest levels,” Jay McAnich, president of the Archery Trade Association, told The Washington Examiner. “To my knowledge, that’s never happened before.”

4. He Was a Brown-Noser’
Adding to the stock of trivia on the young (he’s still young) Ryan is one factoid that seems almost made to be blown out of proportion. In 1988 the high school senior was voted “Biggest ‘Brown-Noser’” in the school’s yearbook. But, heck, we all know how teenagers are. Ryan was also voted prom king.

5. He’s an Avid Catfish Noodler
It’s as cool as it sounds. For those Americans who don’t fish as often as they’d like, “noodling” is a form of wrangling catfish in which the sportsman stands in the water and catches the fish with his hands—no line, no tackle. It’s something Ryan appears to feel strongly about. In a speech in the Lone Star State in June, Ryan bonded with the crowd, saying, “And I want to say something to you Texans—because you understand freedom, you now legally recognize a man’s right to catch a catfish with his own bare hands.”

6. He Loves Led Zeppelin
Just because he likes to spend a lazy day out in nature doesn’t mean the Wisconsin native doesn’t have a bit of an edge. Ryan seems to has a taste for hard-rock bands like Rage Against the Machine, and one of his favorite groups is reportedly Led Zeppelin.

7. He Drove the Wienermobile
As a teenager, Ryan, who comes from an established family of Wisconsonites and whose great-grandfather started a major construction firm, found a summer job driving the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. It seems to have been just part of the newly-tapped veep candidate’s one-time responsibilities, but it’s about as genuine a slice of Americana as comes on four wheels.