The dust has barely settled over Rep. Paul Ryan’s incredible boast that he ran a sub 3-hour marathon, and his later admission that his actual time was much longer. Now, a new athletic claim of Ryan’s is being questioned: whether he’s made “close to 40″ climbs of 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado.
That’s what Ryan told a newspaper back in 2009, before he had any idea that his self-proclaimed sports feats might one day be examined under the magnifying glass of a presidential campaign.
The story was broken by James Fallows at The Atlantic; and the Romney/Ryan campaign has more or less answered it with a response that asserts the original claim is true, and that Fallows misunderstood it.
John Aravosis does a great job explaining it over at Americablog:
Here’s the problem. If the issue is that the Fourteeners are remote, and hard to get to if you’re not a resident, and thus climbing 40 of them would have taken more time than Ryan likely has had in his relatively short life, it doesn’t lessen the amount of time needed to make the climbs simply claiming that they weren’t 40 “different” mountain peaks. So the campaign’s answer doesn’t pass muster.
But it’s even worse. Ryan has been a congressman since 1999 – the past 13 years. He’s supposedly been climbing these peaks for “more than 20 years,” so let’s say 21 years. Where did Paul Ryan find the time to take a few months off each summer to climb these peaks while serving as a member of the US House of Representatives? (The expert climbers say he’d need an entire summer to climb the mountains at the pace he claimed, but let’s say his pace was slower, so that’s why I’m saying 6 weeks to 8 weeks of vacation for climbing.)
First off, just how much vacation time did Mr. Ryan take each summer on the public dole – does he think this is France?
It’s worth reading the whole post, and the comments, a number of which are from Colorado climbers who come across as quite skeptical.
As I noted before, marathon running and mountain climbing have little to do with politics or someone’s qualification to be vice-president. But truthfulness and whether the public trusts you certainly do. Ryan already has given the American people ample to distrust things he says, on stage last week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
It also leaves you wondering what’s coming next.
Will Ryan finally admit he didn’t hike the Appalachian Trail? Or swim the English Channel? Will he finally deny he’s got X-ray vision?