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”?