[Author’s note: Jonathan Swift did not really want Irish people to sell their children for food in 1791; George Orwell did not really want the clocks to strike thirteen in 1984; Paul Ryan, I am sure, calls Mitt Romney something more dignified than “Stench” and Microsoft did not invent PowerPoint as a means to euthanize cattle. At least I am pretty sure Microsoft didn’t.]
Roger Simon is POLITICO’s chief political columnist.
Raw Story regrets the error of taking Mr. Simon at his word.)
Vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has apparently “gone rogue” and is now openly mocking his running mate, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) in front of reporters and staff. Ryan has gone so far as to nickname Romney “The Stench,” and top brass at the Romney campaign have taken to referring to Ryan as “Gilligan.”
It was former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa Craig Robinson who said to the New York Times on Sunday, “I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.”
The remark has been taken up by Paul Ryan as an inside joke on the campaign trail. Politico‘s Roger Simon reported that while Ryan “had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.’”
Meanwhile, according to Simon’s anonymous sources, the Romney “brain trust” of senior campaign officials in Boston have taken to calling Ryan “Gilligan.” Campaign headquarters apparently feels that the man brought on to the ticket for his alleged deftness in navigating complicated snarls of budget and policy numbers is turning out to be an intellectual flyweight.
Outward signs have indicated rumblings of discontent on Ryan’s part regarding Romney’s leadership. When the now-infamous “47 percent” tape surfaced, Ryan slammed Romney’s words as “obviously inarticulate,” although he said he hewed to the statements in principle.
The turning point allegedly came last Friday when Ryan addressed the AARP and earned boos from the crowd, a crowd that included his 78-year-old mother. Campaign officials, including Iraq War architect Dan Senor, had ordered Ryan to deliver his speech with no off-the-cuff remarks, to stick to the script provided for him.
The crowd reacted badly, booing loudly when the candidate vowed to repeal “Obamacare,” and embarrassing him in front of his mother. On Saturday, Ryan went off script and rebelled by delivering his stump speech as a PowerPoint presentation.
“I’m kind of a PowerPoint guy, so I hope you’ll bear with me,” Politico quotes Ryan as saying to the audience. He then began “clicking through four slides, which showed graphs depicting U.S. debt held by the public from 1940 to present, debt per person in the United States, percentage of debt held by foreign countries and a breakdown of federal spending” and “launched into a 10-minute monologue on the federal debt.”
When the campaign reacted angrily, Politico claimed that Ryan responded, “Let Ryan be Ryan and Stench be Stench.”
Recent polling has Romney and Ryan trailing President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in key battleground states, including Ohio, which is considered a necessary win if Romney is to have any hope of winning the presidency.