It's Team GOP

Romney and Ryan front and center as GOP convention kicks off

  • Mitt Romney (right) and Paul Ryan
Mitt Romney (right) and Paul Ryan (Reuters )
August 28, 2012|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bill themselves as the "Comeback Team." But will they energize voters enough to get elected this year?

Romney, 65, is the presumed presidential candidate heading into the Republican National Convention held Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla., and Ryan, 42, is his choice for the veep spot.

More than 15,000 media are expected to cover the event, during which representatives from all 50 states will formally endorse Romney as their choice for the party's presidential candidate. Tropical storm Isaac was headed toward the Gulf Coast as the convention kicked off Monday afternoon with a revised schedule due to the weather.

Romney is a millionaire fundraiser extraordinaire with a reputation as a data-driven problem solver. Meanwhile, Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman since he was 28, is a fiscal conservative who wants to reform Social Security and Medicaid.

Here's a list of 25 things to know about the duo with Midwestern roots who are the GOP's hope to reclaim the White House.

MITT ROMNEY

Name game. Mitt is actually his middle name. Willard Mitt Romney is named after his father's friend J. Willard Marriott of the hotel empire and his father's cousin Milton "Mitt" Romney, a Bears quarterback in the 1920s.

Late night TV. He's appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" to reveal the Top 10 things you don't know about him. "I can't begin my day until I've read the Washington Post and Kim Kardashian's tweets."

Live from New York? He was invited on "Saturday Night Live" but didn't appear last season. He said Jason Sudeikis, who impersonates him, is "very good."

Count 'em. He has 18 grandchildren from his five sons. That's enough to field two baseball teams. His oldest son, Taggart, was born the same year as his running mate.

Like father, like son. He is a spitting image of his father, who was born in Mexico to American parents. His father was Michigan's governor and Romney was Massachusetts' governor. His father sought the Republican nomination for president in 1968 when he was 60, the same age Romney was when he first sought the nomination in 2008.

Kennedy connection. He ran against Ted Kennedy in 1994 for U.S. Senate and lost with the smallest margin Kennedy faced in getting re-elected. He was a special correspondent for his high school newspaper at President Kennedy's funeral.

He's on a mission. He went to France for 30 months as a Mormon missionary after his freshman year at Stanford University.

Savvy shopper? He wears shirts bought at Costco.

Five ring circus. Ten years ago, he helped pull off the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics as its president and CEO.

Mo' money. His estimated net worth is as much as $250 million.Romney donated his inheritance to BYU's Institute of Public Management, declined his governor salary and gave his 2002 Olympic CEO salary and book earnings to charity.

Double take. Like President Obama, Romney is a best-selling author and signed a universal health insurance bill into Massachusetts law in 2006 that commonly was referred to as "Romneycare" when he was governor.

Flying friendly skies? LMFAO member Sky Blu said he was escorted off a flight in Vancouver in 2010 after arguing with Romney, who told him to put his seat up before takeoff.

A winning combination? He made it to People's 50 Most Beautiful People list in 2002 and Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.

Dog days of summer. Devo plans to release a track this month called "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Remember Seamus)" after an incident in which Romney strapped his dog in a kennel onto the roof of his car during a road trip.

Freedom of religion. He would be the first Mormon to be a presidential nominee.

PAUL RYAN

Young gun. Born in 1970, he would be the first Gen X candidate on a presidential ticket.

No stranger to getting grilled. He worked the grill at McDonald's in high school. Other jobs include driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in college, being a waiter and a working as a health club fitness trainer on Capitol Hill.

Hunger games? His wedding announcement mentioned he makes his own Polish sausage and brats. He's wrestled catfish, also known as noodling. He hunts and is in an archery association. He proposed to his wife on a fishing trip.

It all comes back to Ryan. Gosling, that is. The Twitter account @PaulRyanGosling, with more than 55,000 followers, plays off the Gosling "Hey girl" meme mixed with Ryan's political views. One gem: "Hey girl, I can control government spending, but I can't control...my feelings. Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer."

Work it! He is known to work out religiously to the P90X routine. The gym rat ran track, skied and played soccer and basketball in high school.

Most likely to ... accumulate titles. They include high school prom king, junior class president, "biggest brown-noser" in high school, The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful (2008), Human Events' Conservative of the Year (2011) and a runner-up in Time magazine's Person of the Year issue (2011).

A big ball of rage. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello slammed Ryan, who claimed to be a fan, saying Ryan is the "embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades." Twisted Sister's Dee Snider condemned Ryan for using "We're Not Gonna Take It" song at a rally.

He's a cheesehead. Yep, he is a Packers fan.

What's in a name? People thought his nickname was Petey but it was P.D. for Paul Davis.

Family guy. The father of three lives on the block he grew up on, next door to his cousin, across the street from his aunt and uncle and a block away from his brother.

Sources: Forbes, ABC News, New York Times, Human Events, The Hill, Politico, Rolling Stone, Time, New Yorker, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Vanity Fair

lvivanco@tribune.com

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