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Paul Ryan workout photos: Do they send the right message? (+video)

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(Read caption) Rep. Paul Ryan at a Wisconsin gym in December 2011.
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Politics is frequently compared to a sport, if not a bloodsport. So it makes sense that candidates would think it advantageous to portray themselves as being in “fighting shape.”

But in vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s case, that image is now teetering on the edge of caricature.

We suppose some supporters may find the new Time Magazine photos of Congressman Ryan in full “P90X” workout mode flattering. After all, there’s no disputing the fact that the congressman is pretty ripped. Drudge – an outlet that’s clearly sympathetic to the Romney-Ryan ticket – even chose to prominently display one of the shots of Ryan pumping iron Thursday morning.

But we suspect that many others will find the Ryan photo shoot – hmmm, how shall we put this – bordering on hilarious. There’s the backwards baseball cap. The way Ryan locks eyes with the camera as he’s doing his bicep curls. Our personal favorite is the one where he’s reaching an arm out and pouting in a pseudo-homeboyish pose.

Maybe he meant it ironically?

It’s reminiscent, on some level, of the famous photo of Michael Dukakis in the tank. Or those John Kerry windsurfing shots. Those, too, were pictures intended to show off the candidate’s tough, manly side, but they ended up unintentionally reinforcing a very different message.

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