Robert Benson, an official Romney spokesman, had this to say at a press conference called to explain the campaign’s latest move:
“Congressman Ryan has posed for Playgirl to prove, in plain sight, how dedicated he and Governor Romney are to the topic of women’s issues—a dedication that I’m sure President Obama is quite unprepared to show to his own female constituents.”
I was able to get a hold of a prerelease issue of the magazine after prying it out of the hands of a group of female Republican operatives.
I took the magazine with me when I interviewed the Congressman later that day.
BDF: Thank you very much, Congressman Ryan, for taking the time to meet…
CPR: Jesus Christ! What happened to your eye?
BDF: Oh yeah. That was one of your staffers. Lindsey I believe. Hell of a right hook.
CPR: My God. Put some ice on that thing before it swells shut.
BDF: Will do. Thank you for the concern. But let’s talk about your recent spread in Playgirl.
CPR: I’d love to. It’s just proof positive that, unlike President Obama, I take the issues women find important straight to heart. Issues like: body hair, biceps, rugged good looks, full-frontal male nudity…
BDF: What about reproductive rights, equal pay, and sexual harassment?
Congressman Ryan turned to look at one of his aides. His aide shrugged. Congressman Ryan turned back to me.
CPR: We have very good data stating that the issues I just enumerated are the ones women care about most.
BDF: May I see that data?
There was a brief, awkward silence.
BDF: Ok… Well let’s talk about the actual photos.
I took out the magazine and turned to Congressman Ryan’s centerfold.
BDF: I see that Governor Romney also had a shoot.
CPR: Ah, yes. I was told that he was going to come in after I left…
BDF: The two of you are in the same shot.
CPR: Um…yeah. I guess that must’ve been Phtotoshopped in…
BDF: But you’re clearly holding his…
CPR: Ah! Um! I don’t know why they did that…
BDF: …while you’re…
CPR: I said it was Phtotshopped!
BDF: Ok. Thank you very much, Congressman.
CPR: Thank you, Bobby.
When contacted about the issue, Playgirl’s photographer stated that he had not planned nor wanted to do a joint shoot with the two running mates. However, he had been overruled by their staff and made to take pictures of what he described as, “The seven most disturbing minutes of my life.”