Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dinner With the Candidate

What do you do when an old friend becomes the Vice President candidate? Simple. You show up at his Minneapolis fundraiser and surprise him in the photo line with a familiar face from the past. Him being Paul Ryan who currently shares the top billing of the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney.

But first you and your husband have to show up early enough at the event to avoid any pesky protesters who may be blocking the door, including people making a statement by dressing up in Big Bird costumes. If you were the VP candidate would your campaign positions really be swayed by a couple of people in Big Bird costumes? Worth rewriting your budget plan over an angry Big Bird?

One you get past the protesters and make your way down a dingy, dimly lit corridor realization hits. This event is being held in a night club! The second floor gathering room with a distinctly industrial look is really a dance floor with a bar on one end and the photo station sectioned off with velvet curtains. But it works!

You get something to drink and survey the room. An hour slips by as the room fills up with Ryan fans in all degrees of attire ranging from tuxes and ballgowns to casual business attire. It remains foggy and drizzly outside, delaying the candidate's flight. That doesn't stop the crowd from queuing up in the photo line. Not just anybody can get into this line much less even into the building or this room. Minimum levels of support are a requirement for entry.

Flashbulbs start popping and the crowd gets a bit excited. Paul Ryan is has entered the room and is now behind the velvet curtain.

After attending many political photo op events over the years, the VIP traditional pose (wide-eyed and toothy smiles) seems a bit boring. I'm scheming. I propose doing something completely different. Unconventional even. How about bunny ears, flashing the peace sign, or jumping gleefully into the air? Something fun and memorable. My husband quickly dismisses my ideas as a great way to end up injured or arrested. He wisely points out that Paul Ryan is surrounded by Secret Service agents. "They won't react well to your scheme," he warns.

Point taken. There are a whole lot of Secret Service agents visible in the room and who knows how many are undercover or hidden with their distinctive wires tucked into their ears. I don't feel like getting hauled away for questioning or causing a scene.

We're next in line. I've given up on my photo op plan until the candidate—Paul Ryan himself—decides to throw the Secret Service agents a curve ball. He spots me and my husband, bursts into a genuine smile, and wraps me into a huge friendly hug! The Secret Service agents look astonished and quickly glance around at each other. In a split second they realize, wait Paul Ryan initiated it. The blond woman in the brown dress and suede Missoni heels isn't a threat. She's friendly. He's safe.

By now Paul Ryan is pumping my husband's hand and sharing a story about how he knew him back when he had hair on his now balding head. The Secret Service deems my husband "safe" as well.

We quickly snap the "official" picture, say our goodbyes, and promise to catch up soon. Given the frantic pace of the campaign trail and his entourage of agents, catching up may be difficult for awhile. I think that the Secret Service agents are happy for us to exit the room and move on to the next part of the event. The evening did actually conclude with a dinner with Paul Ryan.

Another day in the life a suburban Mom who sometimes gets the opportunity to escape her chic reality.

In case you're interested, I've listed the links to my other posts about Paul Ryan.

1 comment:

Kristie H. said...

Fun! glad you got to see him again! I'm hoping he will be too busy the next four years to have a family dinner with you and Pat. Unless he invites you to the Naval Observatory for the evening. :)

This election night coverage is going to be fun to watch!