Indeed, it’s ‘Mr. Ryan’

The two candidates have taken the stage: Vice President Biden. And Rep. Paul Ryan.

Citing sources, Politico reported this afternoon that according to mutually agreed upon rules, both campaigns decided how their candidate should be addressed. Reportedly, Republicans requested Ryan get the more humble honorific "mister," rather than his customary “congressman” or “chairman.”

But debate moderator Martha Radditz appears to have gone for the more standard "congressman" for a 13-year member of the House of Representatives and chairman of the chamber’s key Budget Committee. 

Why Ryan may have wanted to be called "mister" was not specified by the sources. But one obvious answer might lie in the fact that Congress is just about the least popular institution in America (even sheep cloning and teen caning is more popular!) and Republicans may not have wanted viewers reminded that Ryan is a member of it.

Ryan’s not the only candidate for office who may be employing this trick. As we reported in June, a surprising number of representatives and senators running for reelection are running ads promising to change Washington and failing to mention that they are currently serving in the very body they promise to shake up.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.
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Glenn Kessler · October 11, 2012