NO TWINKIES FOR RYAN
Paul Ryan’s plan to slim down the federal government has been commanding only slightly more attention than his midsection since the gossip website TMZ posted a photo of the lawmaker strolling hand in hand with his wife, sans shirt, on vacation. Ryan is a known exercise fiend who is famous for leading early-morning workouts of the grueling P90X fitness program in the House gym for some of his colleagues. (He started the regimen after the TMZ photo was taken.)
It looks as if the campaign trail—where so many reporters and candidates pack on the pounds—won’t be an issue for Ryan, who has already been spotted working out in the hotel gyms of swing states across the country.
Plus, the food on his charter plane has tended away from the familiar slew of baked goods and more toward fruits and veggies. The influence of a health conscious candidate? Most likely.
HITTING THE GREENS FOR SOME GREEN
Want to influence Washington policymakers in Tampa? Hit the links. That’s what companies wanting to grab politicos’ attention will be doing: moving from glitzy cocktail parties to charity golf tournaments. On Monday, SAP and Intel are hosting Birdies for the Brave, which could raise up to $1 million for veterans’ organizations. Event cochairs are SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, Intel President Paul Otellini, House Speaker John Boehner, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. “Members have been very ready to sign on to this because it’s a great cause. We have a number coming out,” said Robert Cresanti, who heads SAP’s Washington shop. “People are in tune with this, and they understand what it is and that it’s not sort of the traditional fare.”
The list of politicians attending includes Sens. Richard Burr, Saxby Chambliss, and Jerry Moran; Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour; and Reps. Buck McKeon and Tom Price. The proceeds will go toward building a house and renovating another for two wounded veterans in Tampa.
Multitasking Despite sharing the ticket with Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan is still running for his congressional seat in Wisconsin—and he has big bucks in the bank for the bid. Through the end of June, Ryan’s campaign had taken in $4.3 million for his relatively safe seat. As of April 1, only five House candidates had raised more than $3.1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Heating Up It’s practically conventional wisdom that politicians should avoid discussing global warming. But a study from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication argues the opposite: A majority of registered voters (55 percent), the study finds, say they will consider candidates’ views on global warming when deciding how to vote. Among these voters, large majorities believe that climate change is happening and support action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, even if it has economic costs. And, the study says, the highly prized independent voters resemble Democrats more closely than Republicans on the issue.
Let There Be Light The Sunlight Foundation, known for shining a digital flashlight on dimly lit heaps of government documents, is flipping on the wattage, so to speak, at lobbyists’ parties in Tampa and beyond. The nonpartisan, nonprofit group’s website politicalpartytime.org relaunched just in time for the Republican and Democratic conventions.
This article appears in the August 25, 2012, edition of National Journal Magazine.