Clout: Paul Ryan: Another hunting GOP veep candidate

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Ann Romney , Mitt's wife, sits with granddaughter Chloe Romney at the convention Wednesday.

TO EVERYTHING, there is a season, the Bible's book of Ecclesiastes first told us and songwriter Pete Seeger and rock band the Byrds later sang to us.

And if a Republican nominee for president is looking to cast the vice-presidential pick in an all-American light, then we must be talking about hunting season.

Deer & Deer Hunting magazine has a scoop for its October issue, available on newsstands Tuesday: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, tells the story of learning to hunt as an 11-year-old and now sharing the sport with his kids.

This is potent political stuff for a Republican vice-presidential pick. Remember how people went gaga in 2008 when they learned that then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin liked to hunt moose?

Remember Vice President Dick Cheney? The man hunted lawyers, for crying out loud.

(OK, shooting that guy was an accident. They were trying to shoot quail. But still.)

Ryan, who spoke Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention, opens up to the magazine about shooting his first deer at 16 in a "quartering-away shot," hunter talk for getting the drop on an animal from a rear angle. He also talks about hunting with a bow and a pistol.

But, most importantly, Ryan uses the interview to cast himself as an everyman who wanders the woods, hunting his food. And he gets to chuckle when asked if venison is served in the U.S. Capitol.

"My family is used to eating wild game," Ryan explains. "But they don't in D.C. That's foreign to them."

 

Seeking the center

 

Coby Lerner and Angela McDougall are two students in David Eisenhower's Annenberg School of Communication class reporting for us from Tampa. They got an unusual reception upon their arrival.

Here's their report:

We asked a man to take a photo of our group. Instead of saying "Smile," he gleefully said "Kill Biden," as if that would induce a more genuine smile.

It is this extremism that is not creating "American Exceptionalism" but detracting from it.

In our short time here, we've observed how the moderate conservative barely exists. The moderate conservative doesn't have a voice, but a whisper.

There are exceptions. Our refreshing and direct conversation with former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean was disarmingly candid. He believes that money is "the cancer in the political system," and that campaign spending and exposure should be regulated and equal.

Both parties have suffered from disproportionate influence from the far ends of the political spectrum.

We are here as a young, optimistic Republican, and a young, enthusiastic Democrat, pleading with both parties to stop letting these fringe ideologies seize control of what used to be two strong national organizations that once embodied American Exceptionalism. More importantly, we come in search of a sane, solid, stable center.

 

Patriotism for purchase

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is nothing if not an entrepreneurial multitasker.

The 2008 presidential candidate-turned-radio-show-host and Fox News pundit played cheerleader for Mitt Romney's campaign Wednesday at the convention.

He's also the pitchman for the Franklin Mint's latest schlocky bit of patriotism for purchase: the "Founding Fathers of America Coin Collection."

For just $199.95 you can have seven coins celebrating George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, all "lavishly coated in 24-karat gold," as the company says.

We think Franklin would approve. He seemed like the type to appreciate a good scam.

 

A gender gap in media

Appealing to women voters has been a key theme of this presidential race. But who are the journalists writing those stories?

On Tuesday, Ann Romney pitched her husband as a presidential candidate to women, noting his devotion to his family and support during her battles with illness. The GOP had more women speakers lined up, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, as they try to pitch to women that their economic policies will be better for women and families.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have been hammering the Republicans on abortion rights and access to contraception, hoping to gain an advantage among undecided women.

Here in Philly, actress Tatyana Ali, Councilwoman Marian Tasco and others gathered at the Pennsylvania Democratic Party headquarters Tuesday to kick off what they're calling the "Romney-Ryan: Wrong for Women" week.

But there's an interesting wrinkle in this conversation, raised on the website 4thestate.net: The vast majority of the coverage of this race was written by male reporters. Since April 15, the site reports, 72.1 percent of articles written about the election were penned by men and just 27.9 percent by women.

The 4th Estate Project is partnered with the Women's Media Center, which aims to shed light on gender inequality in media.

- Staff writer Catherine Lucey

contributed to this report.

 


Contact Chris Brennan at brennac@phillynews.com or 215-854-5973. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN. Read his blog at PhillyClout.com.