Despite perceptions that Paul Ryan only became a serious contender for Mitt Romney's running man in August, the Romney campaign appears to have been seriously considering the Wisconsin congressman weeks before.
Seriously enough, at least, that they reserved the name "PaulRyanVP" on Twitter on July 21, along with two other then-serious contenders for the VP pick: Tim Pawlenty and Marco Rubio.
[See: Latest political cartoons]
By 10 a.m. Saturday, the day Romney announced Ryan as the official VP pick aboard the USS Wisconsin, the PaulRyanVP Twitter account garnered more than 150,000 mentions on Twitter—three times more than Romney's best day ever, according to Zach Green, who runs 140elect.com, a site that monitors political social media activity.
The mentions serve as another indicator the young congressman could outshine Romney in the months to come.
But so far, Ryan's account has tweeted only four very milque-toast tweets, two of which are identical, which Green says suggests a staffer is running the account instead of Ryan.
Green also noticed that of the 76 accounts Ryan is following, 56 are white men, 10 are white women, one is a woman of color (Nikki Haley), and 10 are corporations or PACs. "Nobody else. Apt metaphor," Green wrote on Saturday.
Editorials have hounded Ryan since he was chosen Saturday—and even before—that say the congressman's budget would help the rich and hurt the poor. Earlier this month, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote in a column about another Romney VP option, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, that "doubling down on the bland, middle-aged white guy quotient on the Republican ticket could be a major mistake."
Ryan isn't bland, but his Twitter account is thus far. He's got a captive audience of nearly 100,000, though, and he'd be silly not to use it.
A final tidbit revealed from Ryan's tweeting: According to Green, Saturday was the first time Ryan or Romney ever tweeted about one another. Take that as you will.
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About Paul Ryan
- Obama Targets Ryan Medicare Plan in New Video
- Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy