The following is a transcript of a phone interview conducted with Congressman Paul Ryan on the eve of the 2012 Vice Presidential debate:
Pouts & Squirmers: Congressman Ryan, thank you so much for joining us ahead of tomorrow night’s event. What do you anticipate in your debate with Vice President Biden?
Paul Ryan: Well, it should be a great show. Vice President Biden will come at me with guns blazing, and I too will have guns.
P & S: What?
P & S: You were speaking metaphorically, right? Rhetorical guns.
Ryan: Who said anything about guns?
P & S: You did, no?
Ryan: Don’t think I did, chief.
P & S: Okay, well, while we’re on the subject—you’ve been an opponent of gun control, and yesterday stated that the way to reduce urban crime is to teach “inner-city” people “good character” and “good discipline.” What did you mean by that?
Ryan: Well, I think it’s fairly obvious that most of our social problems stem from lack of discipline. The discipline to get off food stamps. The discipline not to have a pre-existing medical condition. The discipline to carry a pregnancy to term after being raped, should that be your chosen method of conception. Discipline has been hugely important in my own life. Without it, I never would have become congressman, or won that marathon, or safely landed that commercial airplane in the Hudson River, or rescued the trapped Chilean miners, or blazed my way to Olympic gold this summer in the women’s gymnastics all-around.
P & S: Your speech at the Republican Convention was widely criticized, even by Fox News, as being full of lies and distortions. How do you respond to that criticism?
Ryan: The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.
P & S: Is that—
Ryan: Ayn fuckin’ Rand.
P & S: Let’s move on to some of the statements you’ve made about climate change. In a 2009 op-ed, you implied that global warming wasn’t real because there was snow on the ground in your home state. Can you elaborate on that argument?
Ryan: Snow isn’t exactly “warm.”
P & S: I understand, but how does the existence of snow disprove the evidence of climate change?
Ryan: Let me be specific. There was a lot of snow that day, and boy was it cold. I touched it, I made balls out of it, I put some in a bowl and dotted it with food coloring and pretended it was a sundae.
P & S: Congressman Ryan, you’ve decried Social Security as a “socialist-based system”—
Ryan: It’s right there in the name.
P & S: Social Security.
P & S: Right. You received Social Security survivor benefits as a teenager and used them to pay for college. Some have expressed surprise at your attacks on a system from which you and your family have clearly benefited.
Ryan: Well, one can benefit from a system and still criticize it, right?
P & S: That’s actually a good point—
Ryan: In your FACE! In your dirty face.
P & S: All right, maybe we should just end this on a lighter note. You chose “Bowhunter” as your Secret Service code name. Why do you call yourself that?
Ryan: Bow is a little character I made up to remind me who I am and what I stand for. He thinks the government should take care of him. He believes in aiding the poor. He runs extremely slowly. I am the Bowhunter. The anti-Bow. Tebow.
P & S: Did you just say “Tebow”?
The following is a transcript of a phone interview with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney conducted on the eve of his nomination acceptance speech at the 2012 Republican Convention:
Pouts & Squirmers: Governor Romney, thanks so much for calling from Tampa. First, take us back to your early life, to your childhood in Michigan. When did you first know you wanted to grow up to be an animal abuser?
Romney: You know, it’s so funny you ask. I was always one of those kids who liked to kill butterflies, disrupt the migratory patterns of birds, that sort of thing. I shot a deer once, at the Detroit Zoo.
P & S: Wow—
Romney: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. A muntjac. Very rare Asian deer. Loved that little guy. Afterwards I had him stuffed with dead butterflies.
P & S: All right, let’s fast-forward to high school. Some of your former classmates from the Cranbrook Academy told the Washington Post that they remembered you bullying a gay student.
Romney: You’ll have to be more specific.
P & S: Okay, there was a young man with long blond hair, and apparently you didn’t like the way he wore his hair—
Romney: Oh! Oh please, though. Where does it say in the Constitution that you can’t tackle a gay person, pin him down, and cut off his hair as he screams for help? You show me where it says that. Seriously, though—can you show me?
P & S: I can’t show you, because the Constitution doesn’t say anything about that specifically.
Romney: It doesn’t, right? I’m glad you checked. The devil is in the details. (And the gays. High five!)
P & S: Wait, Governor, is someone there with you?
Romney: No, of course not.
P & S: Let me ask about your proposed policies. You’ve said that as president, you’d fight for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. How do you justify this kind of discrimination in a 21st-century democracy?
Romney: Hang on a quick sec…
P & S: Governor?
John Galliano: Dirty Jew face.
P & S: Governor Romney, is that John Galliano? What’s he even doing at the Republican Convention, I thought he was on probation—
John Galliano: Dirty face Jew—
Romney: Oh my gosh, no, John Galliano, no! Give me that phone. SO wrong. So wrong. I condemn your discrimination. [Giggle]
P & S: Governor, did you just put John Galliano on the line to distract from my question—
Romney: Well, no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate! Last question, please.
P & S: That’s a little abrupt, but all right—you said in March that you don’t think the minimum wage of $7.25/hour needs to be raised. Given the cuts to social services you and Paul Ryan are proposing, how do you expect for working people to cover basic expenses like housing, health care, child care, and education?
Romney: America is a great country with loads of opportunity. The son of a governor can grow up to be a governor. The son of a president can grow up to be president. This is a country that favors the little guy, the small-business owner. You could say that I myself was the small-business owner of a giant private equity firm. So I know what it’s like to sweat and scrimp and struggle, stash your money in the Caymans and not pay taxes. I know what it’s like to be a really weird guy who no one believes is actually human. All I can say is, it’s true: I do feed poor people to my horse. Because my horse was in the Olympics. Was yours?
P & S: What, no—
Romney: Loser! Buhbye.
Pouts & Squirmers offers exclusive access to the previously unseen, complete transcript of the now-infamous interview between Representative Todd Akin and radio host Charles Jaco:
Akin: Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something.
Jaco: Sure, go on, I’m with you.
Akin: So let’s assume this is one of those few cases where the woman’s baby bag fails to forcibly expel the unwanted semen. From what I understand from physicists, it’s possible for the woman to actually travel back in time prior to the act—
Jaco: Excuse me, Representative—“baby bag.” Can you explain that term for our listeners?
Akin: Sure, it’s however you want to slice this particularly tough sort of anatomical question. Just—slice it.
Jaco: Thank you. So the woman travels back in time prior to the rape—
Akin: Right, back in time she goes, if the rape is legitimate. My understanding is that the woman can get in the time machine, go back, wipe off the make-up, change out of the mini-skirt, make some better decisions—
Jaco: But Representative, there are inevitably going to be people offended by that remark. What would you say to those critics?
Akin: First of all, from what I understand from Jesus Christ himself the night he stood outside my window with a boombox over his head blasting “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel up at me: in my eyes, he feels the light, he feels the heat. In my eyes, he is complete. I don’t know how else to slice it for you. Next question.
Jaco: Thank you. So back to the time machine—
Akin: I know, I know. What if the time machine is broken? People are always wanting to slice it that way. In that case, from what I understand from the film Aladdin, if the rape is truly authentic, a magic lamp will appear before the woman. She rubs the lamp, and a genie grants her three wishes. She can then wish to fix the time machine.
Jaco: I see.
Akin: Leaving two wishes to spare. Pretty good deal for the bitches.
“If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did. There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.’”
Mark Wahlberg, on Brown v. Board of Education:
“If I was on the Supreme Court, that ruling wouldn’t have went down like it did. There would have been a lot of Franzia flowing in that chamber and then me reaching under Felix Frankfurter’s robe and whispering, ‘Nice gavel.’”
On the Holocaust:
“All I know is, if I was in Auschwitz, there wouldn’t have been all those scrawny dudes chillin’ around like they did. There would have been a Gold’s Gym in every barracks and me saying, ‘Look at all these chicken legs. I can’t believe this, I feel like I’m on a chicken farm. Schmuley, feel my abs. Mad nice, right?’”
On Anne Hathaway’s British accent in One Day:
“If I was in One Day with Anne Hathaway, her British accent wouldn’t have sucked like it did. There would have been a lot of rigorous dialect coaching on that set and then me saying, ‘Let me explain something to you, Anne Hathaway: I get very upset by inauthenticity. Like Heidegger said, our existential predicament—perceived, perhaps, as ontological anxiety—is the rope by which we can climb out of the pit of inauthenticity. Now feel these abs, tits.’”
On the Titanic:
“If I had been on the Titanic, it wouldn’t have gone down like it did. There would have been a lot of thirsty-ass passengers slurping up water as fast as they could and me saying, ‘Come on come on, feel it feel it. Feel the libation.’”
about the author
never before asked
Do you like pesto?
I don’t care for pesto.
What’s your take on the Jewish Question?
The Jewish Question… you mean, “Are you Jewish?” Being of mixed heritage, I alternate between several responses:
3) That all depends. Is that whitefish salad?
4) Big time
5) Are you here to investigate the murder of the Christ?
Nobody loves you.
I’m sorry, what was the question?
Do you agree with George W. Bush that the greatest philosopher is Jesus Christ?
Tied with LeAnn Rimes, yes I do.
Are you sure you won’t try a little pesto?
I don’t care for it.
Are you a communist?
How is this blog related to “Shouts & Murmurs”?
Elite humorists send me their material; what I can’t use on this site, I send to the New Yorker. Classic “sloppy seconds” relationship.