The fascination of shirtless politicans

As soon as Paul Ryan was tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate, a curious citizenry took to their computers to seek out information on the potential VP  — namely, what did he look like shirtless? "Paul Ryan shirtless" was the second-most-popular Ryan-related Google search behind "Paul Ryan, vice president," in the 24 hours after Ryan was announced.

Now, TMZ, purveyor of paparazzi pictures, has granted America's wish, publishing a photograph of Ryan and his wife on vacation in their bathing suits.

Welcome, Ryan, to the strange fascination the American public has with shirtless leaders. It could be that the casual image presents such a stark difference to the suits preferred by politicians. Or it could be that folks just want to see what the P90X workout can do for one's abs. (Important note: The TMZ photo is six years old, and thus pre-P90X).

At least the occasional shirtless photo is better than always being asked what designers you prefer.

Since we're not purchasing the shirtless photograph of Ryan from TMZ, here's a quick walk down memory lane of past politicians sans clothes:

(Alex Brandon/AP)
(Doug Mills/AP)
(Scott Stewart/AP)
(AP)

 

And don't think this is an American-only interest:

(RIA Novsoti/Kremlin/Reuters)

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Rachel Weiner · August 17, 2012