Democrats Highlight Ryan's Marathon Time Gaffe

Robert Siegel and Melissa Block report that as the Democratic National Convention gets underway, the other running record of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is taking the spotlight. Debate over his reported marathon time has become a popular subject in the blogosphere. Ryan misstated his over four hour time as being under three hours.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Political conventions are a time for serious speechifying. They're also moments for taking sarcastic shots at the other side. And in Charlotte, one target has already emerged in the form of this claim last month by Paul Ryan when he was asked about his history of running marathons by radio host Hugh Hewitt.

HUGH HEWITT: What's your personal best?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Under three I think, you know, high twos, about two hours and 50-something.

HEWITT: Holy smokes.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Holy smokes indeed. If the GOP's vice presidential nominee ran a marathon in less than three hours, he would be the fastest marathoner ever on a national ticket. That was reported by Runner's World magazine. John Edwards ran a 3:30, George W. Bush a 3:44.

BLOCK: We already knew that Paul Ryan is a fit guy, but Runner's World seized its moment with this story and dug up the truth about the marathon. Ryan ran one marathon in his life, called Grandma's Marathon, in Duluth, Minnesota, back when he was in college. And Robert, his time?

SIEGEL: Four hours, one-minute and 25 seconds. That is a good hour longer than the time Ryan originally recalled.

BLOCK: Well, yesterday Congressman Ryan laughed and acknowledged the mistake on Toledo TV station WTOL.

RYAN: That was 22 years ago and you forget sort of these things. I hurt my back when I was in my mid-20s so I had to stop running and so obviously my perception of races and times - it was off.

BLOCK: Prior to that explanation, people were already having a field day on the Internet. There were tweets like this one from Ben Greenman of The New Yorker: Paul Ryan once made minute rice in 12 seconds. And there's a Paul Ryan time calculator where you can plug in your marathon time and see it magically shorten.

SIEGEL: This morning, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, got the ball rolling at the Democratic convention. She was speaking with the Ohio delegation and according to CNN, she said anyone who starts with the notion that you have to make up your marathon time tells you all you need to know about Paul Ryan.

BLOCK: And as the convention continues, we expect more Democrats will go the extra mile taking Ryan's words and running with them.

SIEGEL: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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