Twenty-four hours is a lot of time to fill for a news network, especially when you’ve only got one thing to talk about. During their coverage of Mitt Romney‘s VP selection, CNN contributor and legendary Democratic strategist James Carville filled several of those minutes by leading Wolf Blitzer and his panel in a discussion of Veepstakes winner Paul Ryan‘s absent necktie at the weighty announcement.
“I was a little shocked at the optics that Ryan didn’t wear a coat and tie,” Carville observed. “I don’t know if anyone else thinks it matters, but I was surprised at this.”
Wolf Blitzer, amused and intrigued, asked “Why were you surprised, James?”
“You know, maybe that’s just me and being from the South, but, you know, you’re announced for vice president of the United States, you’re a young guy and just look sort of casual to me,” Carville replied, and while he thought the event and the speech went well, he “didn’t think that the optics of the thing were that good. I think a lot of other people shared my view. But I had a lot of phone calls about it. I thought it was all inspiring — I thought his speech was fine. standard stuff, but it was well done. I just thought it was an interesting choice to not have him in a tie, to have Romney dressed like that.”
Blitzer then set the record straight, noting that “Romney wore a tie and no jacket, and Ryan wore no tie with a jacket.”
Redstate Editor-in-Chief and CNN analyst Erick Erickson weighed in by noisily taking his own tie off, while Blitzer braced Democratic strategist Donna Brazile about her party’s sartorial history.
“Donna Brazile, do you remember what al gore was wearing when Bill Clinton said he was his running mate back in 1992?” Blitzer asked.
“I’m sure it was a very powerful suit and a great moment.” Brazile replied.
Not to be played for a sucker, Blitzer shot back, “Do you know that for sure?”
“Look, Wolf, I don’t recall exactly,” she responded. “James may recall.”
Mediaite has learned that Al Gore did, indeed, wear a coat and tie for that 1992 announcement:
Then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden sported ties, no jackets, and rolled-up sleeves:
Vice-presidential selection Dick Cheney wore his formal helmet:
All kidding aside, there is little chance that Ryan simply forgot to wear a tie, or that Romney and Ryan only had one suit between them. Perhaps Ryan’s attire was meant to convey his relative youth, or to provide a contrast with Romney, or to strike a more populist pose. Whatever the reason, it was probably no accident.
Here’s the clip, from CNN:
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