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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

One to watch...

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LAST Saturday, Republican standard-bearer Mitt Romney pulled off a bit of a shocker. Rather than choosing his running mate for the U.S. presidential election from a group of solid, uninspiring "boring white men" such as former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty or Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, he chose Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan.

Ryan is a tough but pleasant midwesterner and an avid fitness buff in the wake of his father's untimely death due to heart attack. He is a fiscal conservative who believes in small government and even smaller spending. He is an idealist who believes he can challenge the culture of entitlement that seems to pervade America. Most importantly, he is not a Romney.

So, what do some observers choose to focus on? His suits, of course.

At last Saturday's announcement, the Washington Post tut-tutted, "Ryan appeared rumpled, slightly sloppy for a vice-presidential candidate. As if he'd flown in hours before and mistakenly picked up someone else's suitcase. His pants sagged at his ankles. His starched, white shirt bunched at his stomach. His dark jacket drooped, better suited for a man of the cloth than a man on a presidential ticket."

Does this mean Ryan is about to get a makeover? We're betting not. The previous Republican running mate, Sarah Palin, got a $150,000 wardrobe makeover after she was selected four years ago. Remember how that turned out?

No, we're betting Ryan's rumpled look may already be his makeover. It's the kind of look, Republicans hope, the average American can get behind. Indeed, the average American might even believe they can be him. And that's a good thing, because the average American sure can't hope to be a Romney. That's a much too exclusive club.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2012 J2

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