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Paul Ryan: Former Wienermobile Driver, Future Vice President?

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Representative Paul Ryan

Representative Paul Ryan

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With November's presidential election drawing close, the tickets are now set, with President Obama and Vice President Biden set to take on Gov. Mitt Romney and newly named Vice President nominee, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.

According to a report last year by National Public Radio, the 42-year-old Representative from Wisconsin has a few ties to the automotive world.

Ryan hails from Janesville, Wisconsin, the former home of a GM assembly plant that once built big trucks and SUVs. The plant, which had been assembling machinery of some kind since the early part of the 20th century, was closed at the end of 2008 as GM prepared to enter bankruptcy.

Earlier in that year, Ryan had voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, a $700 billion spending program authorized by Congress to stabilize the banking industry as the nation plunged into financial crisis in the same year. Some of the TARP monies were used to invest in General Motors and Chrysler--and much of that money remains locked up in GM shares today. At current share prices, the GM shares would represent a loss of more than $17 billion--and some pundits credit the TARP program with creating the Tea Party conservative movement within Ryan's own Republican party.

But Ryan's deepest connection to the world of cars could be from his teenage years, when the Republican nominee for Vice President worked for Oscar Meyer. Ryan drove the Wienermobile--and as only NPR could observe from that remote province of America called Washington, D.C., "for those who've never seen it, it's a car shaped like a hot dog on a bun."

The Wienermobile was created in 1936 by the Oscar Meyer company, and an example sits in Michigan's The Henry Ford museum. Today, Oscar Meyer runs eight Wienermobiles around the country, six full-size vehicles and two Vienna Sausage-sized models, one a conversion of a MINI Cooper.

Ryan is a father of three, a Led Zeppelin fan, and is a fitness buff.


Follow the whole Presidential campaign and all meat-propelled vehicles here at TheCarConnection at Facebook and Twitter--and follow the Wienermobile itself on Twitter or on its blog page. What the heck, follow Paul Ryan, the President and Vice President on Twitter and GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, too.



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Comments (7)
  1. Interesting, but SO?

  2. Trying to link Paul Ryan to helping the auto industry with TARP is moronic, he's on record stating he only followed party lines by voting as a robot and regrets that decision so much it made him sick (that from a magazine interview last year recently brought up on a Sunday news/talk show)

  3. At least he didn't sit on his ass and collect welfare.

  4. An interesting follow up would be for NPR to ask both candidates what their response will be to GM's next bail out request. Far more informative about both men and GM then this article's wiener mobile schtick...

  5. Next bailout request is right, because you just KNOW it's coming. The question then is, how many times do you bail something out?

  6. Good question. Wouldn't it be more interesting though, if the American media asked it from both candidates? Would Marty Padgett ask? Does a news media subsidized by the Federal Government ask tough questions of a candidate it supports? Well, maybe a follow up article to the wiener thing could be amusing...

  7. I certainly would. I've tried via Twitter to ask more on the bailouts--no administration official, ex or current, will comment on how the bankruptcy deals were structured or if breakups were ever contemplated. And they don't have to--the beauty of steamrolling through a conventional, legal, ethical process. I've also tried in the past to ask Gore about the iffier parts of his Earth in the Balance. Unless you're part of the WHPC, you're almost invisible--unless you're Entertainment Tonight, I suppose.

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