Paul Ryan and his modern family on the campaign trail
Paul Ryan and his modern family were on the campaign trail together last weekend. Mr. Ryan's three kids, all under age 10, are adjusting to the national spotlight as their dad campaigns for vice president.
| GREEN BAY, Wis.
Liza likes to wear smart clothes and wave to the strangers. Charlie is "the shy one." Sam mugs for cameras every chance he can. All of this would be unremarkable behavior for a trio no older than 10 if their father, Paul Ryan, weren't running for vice president.
A regular presence on their father's campaign in its last days, the trio of tikes fires T-shirts into the crowd from slingshots and seems to enjoy the shift from small town Janesville, Wis., to motorcades across the country. They joined their parents here on Nov. 4, to tailgate before the Green Bay Packers' game and tossed beanbags with their father — while hundreds craned for a peek at the potential second family of the United States.
They're getting quite accustomed to the attention. Even when they went trick or treating last week, national journalists came with them.
"You need two hands to hold your candy bag," Ryan explained to reporters who asked him why he was carrying a scythe.
He then chased after his children through the same neighborhood where he once went door to door for candy. Secret Service and aides, of course, were not far behind.
Candidates' children are often featured on the political campaigns, although seldom are they as young as Liza, Charlie and Sam Ryan. Romney's five sons are surrogates for their father and Vice President Joe Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, often appears for the Democrats.
The Ryan children haven't taken public roles, of course, but they are a familiar site at Ryan's side, especially on weekends. And there is a softer tone to Ryan's remarks when his children are a few feet away in the audience.
Liza is the one who is the first off the plane, waving to anyone waiting. She dressed up as Katy Perry for Halloween and strutted past her neighbors as if the tree-lined streets were a runway.
Charlie, the elder son, is less forthcoming.
"Charlie? He's the shy one. He's hiding behind Eric Cantor right there," Ryan said Nov. 3, in Richmond, Va., as Charlie tried to stand behind the Republican leader.
A few hours later in Panama City, Fla., he was called "this shy guy in the family."
But it most often is 7-year-old Sam who steals the show.
After Ryan's sole vice presidential debate with Biden, Sam got bored with the staged handshakes. He wandered over to his father's seat on the debate stage and started spinning around in the office chair.
At his dad's first campaign event this weekend in Marietta, Ohio, he jumped onto the stage and earned cheers of his own while his pop walked off the stage to shake supporters' hands.
Sam started flashing a V-for-victory sign and wide grin.
"I don't know where he gets it," mother Janna Ryan said of Sam last weekend as she chased after him in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
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Right before, he hoisted his hands above his head, blocking photographers covering Paul Ryan's factory tour.
"It's kind of crazy," Mrs. Ryan said as she shook her head.