Paul Ryan: Father, Fitness Buff, Zeppelin Fan

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Rep. Paul Ryan is leading the news this week. Michele Norris looks at some interesting tidbits you may or may not know about him.


While most of Washington is wrapped up with the drama over the current budget, we're going to take a minute now to tell you a little more about that lawmaker who rolled out a provocative proposal for 2012. Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin chairs the House Budget Committee.


As we just discussed, his budget plan is a big departure from business as usual.

PAUL RYAN: It is not just a budget, it is a cause. It represents our choice for America's future. It represents our commitment to the American people. We aim to restore the dynamism that has defined America over generations.

BLOCK: We want to give you a sense of the man behind that message, a micro bio, sort of like a profile you could tick through in a few tweets. To start, Paul Ryan was elected to Congress in 1998, the youngest in his class. He was just 28.

NORRIS: He was born and still lives in Janesville, Wisconsin. When Paul Ryan was 16, his father died of a heart attack. He saved up the Social Security benefits he received up to his 18th birthday and used the money to help pay for college.

BLOCK: A young Paul Ryan worked for Oscar Meyer, and, yes, he drove a Wienermobile. And for those who've never seen it, it's a car shaped like a hot dog on a bun. Today, the congressman is married with three children.

NORRIS: He is such a passionate fan of the dystopian writer Ayn Rand that he requires staff members to read her 1,200-page novel "Atlas Shrugged."

BLOCK: Before his own election to the House, Ryan worked for two Republican senators. He also wrote speeches for drug czar William Bennett and for Jack Kemp during his 1996 vice presidential run. President Obama has complimented some of the congressman's proposals, calling them serious.

NORRIS: And a few lifestyle notes. Ryan is an extreme fitness buff. He leads several fellow congressmen on regular no mercy P90X workouts. He's a bow hunter and a fisherman. He proposed to his wife at one of his favorite fishing holes. And he's a Led Zeppelin fan.

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