“He couldn’t believe he had met someone who was from Oklahoma and was okay with the fact that he hunted,” recalled Jodi Bond, an old friend of the Ryans.
The new vice presidential candidate still enjoys the life of an outdoorsman. According to the state political blog CapitolBeatOK, Paul Ryan joked during a speech in Oklahoma that he and the family visit “three times a year — deer season, duck season and turkey season.” For some reason, he said, “Janna refers to our visits as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.”
The Ryans live in his home town of Janesville in a large colonial on the block where Paul Ryan, 42, was raised, surrounded by his extended family. There they are raising their three school-age children, Liza, Charlie and Sam. Janna is also a member of a book club and tends her garden.
“Janna is naturally a very private person, but she has been so supportive of Paul and his big dreams and aspirations for the country,” Bond said.
Belcher added, “You can take the girl out of the politics, you can’t take the politics out of the girl. She does stay very current on policy issues.”
Cole recalled Janna accompanying her husband on a congressional trip to the Middle East in 2010 that stopped in Saudia Arabia, Oman and Dubai and being impressed with the couple. “When I got back from the congressional trip I dropped a line to Dan Little, her dad, telling him that it was like traveling with a future president and first lady,” Cole said. “She is probably as knowledgeable a critic and defender of Paul’s economic ideas as anybody. She is very, very sharp.”
In photos pulled from Paul Ryan’s Facebook page, they are the picture of a happy family, wearing matching Green Bay Packers sweatshirts.
After Romney and Ryan spoke at a rally in North Carolina last weekend, Romney offered the microphone to his wife, Ann, who rallied the crowd: “We’re not gonna take it anymore!” she shouted. “We’re gonna take back the White House!”
Romney then offered the microphone to Janna, who politely declined.
“You sure?” he asked.
Alice Crites, Eddy Palanzo and Philip Rucker in Mooresville, N.C., contributed to this report.