Has Paul Ryan been calling Mitt Romney 'The Stench'?
Rumour spreads that Ryan has 'gone rogue' after conservatives urge Romney to 'Let Ryan be Ryan'
REPUBLICAN vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has reportedly "gone rogue" and is rumoured to have started calling Mitt Romney "The Stench" behind his back.
The unflattering nickname appears to come from a comment made by Craig Robinson, former political director of Iowa's Republican Party, who told The New York Times on Sunday that if Ryan wants to run for national office again he will "probably have to wash the stench of Romney off him".
In a semi-satirical column by Roger Simon, Politico suggests Ryan has since been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like: "If Stench calls, take a message" and "Tell Stench I'm having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later."
With less than six weeks to go until the election, commentators have said the report could be seriously damaging to the Republican campaign. One Democrat supporter tweeted: "It's not even October and Romney-Ryan is imploding." And on this side of the Atlantic Tim Shipman, the Daily Mail's deputy political editor, noted: "If you think coalition relations are bad, Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan is now referring to him as 'the stench'."
Some believe the story has to be made up, but one tweeter pointed out that even if the column is simply satire the "fact that it's hard to tell is... well, telling."
Yet the idea that Ryan is distancing himself from Romney might be welcomed by conservatives. The Washington Post reported this week that some Republicans are disappointed that Ryan's bold and confident style has been suffocated by the Romney campaign, which they regard as "vague, cautious and limited to pre-set talking points".
Chris Chocola, president of the conservative political action committee Club for Growth, told The New York Times: "The Romney ticket would be well served to let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan."
Or, as Politico thinks Ryan might put it: "Let Ryan be Ryan and let the Stench be the Stench."