In a semi-satirical column, “Paul Ryan vs. The Stench,” Politico’s Roger Simon asserts that the Romney presidential campaign is flailing and a frustrated Paul Ryan has “gone rogue.”
“[Ryan] is unleashed, unchained, off the hook,” Simon opens the piece. He then claims that last weekend Ryan broke free from “manacles” placed on him by the top of the ticket.
The Romney campaign has pushed back against Simon and Politico, asserting they are trying to create a false storyline that pits the former Massachusetts governor against his own vice presidential candidate.
John Sununu, a top Romney surrogate who has doggedly fought progressive journalists through the election, told Breitbart News such a narrative is “pure, unadulterated garbage.”
Sununu said of Politico, “It's one thing to have them covering the MSM's butt, but now they've sunk to the level of publishing a story that has not one iota of truth about it."
Paul dismissed charges that Romney’s campaign was inhibiting him, telling the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Sunday, “never once has the [Romney] campaign asked me to stop something or do something differently or not do anything.”
Romney and Ryan campaigned together in Ohio Tuesday.
The evidence of Simon's thesis comes from secondhand alleged Ryan quotes published by a progressive newspaper and an instance of the VP candidate using Microsoft PowerPoint.
Simon's column derives its title from a New York Times quote of an Iowa Republican: “if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench off of him.” "Stench," Simon suggests, has become Ryan's nickname for Mr. Romney. He alleges that even before the NYT piece ran last Sunday, “there was a strong sign that Ryan was freeing himself from the grips of the Romney campaign.”
Simon asserts that a senior Romney adviser has kept a "tight grip" on the Wisconsin Congressman, “making sure he hews to the directions of the Romney ‘brain trust’ in Boston.”
Simon determines Ryan started to break free from this “brain trust” after his “disastrous appearance on Friday before AARP in New Orleans,” when several AARP audience members booed a portion of his speech on healthcare reform.
“That was Friday, and that was the end of Ryan following the game plan,” Simon writes.
He then concludes Ryan rebelled against the top of the ticket because he gave a PowerPoint presentation at his next campaign event.
Simon is Politico's Chief Political Columnist, not a reporter. This narrative of Ryan "going rogue" has so far only made it into his comedy-oriented editorial.
Headline image: Flickr user love4utah