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Marathon man Harry Reid blasts Paul Ryan's 'math skills'

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 12:34 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this July 31, 2012 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid mocked Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. for misstating his marathon time, saying the vice presidential candidate's math doesn't add up on running or budgets.

J. Scott Applewhite, File, Associated Press

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blasted Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Monday for misstating his own marathon time.

“Reid, who has run 15 marathons and several half marathons, opened the Senate session on Monday with criticism of Ryan, who had to correct his initial claim of running a marathon in ‘two hour and fifty-something’ after records showed it was just over four hours,” the Associated Press reported. “Reid suggested that if he took his time in the 1972 Boston Marathon — three hours, 16 minutes — and adjusted based on Ryan’s approach, he would have turned in a stellar performance.”

Politico’s Manu Raju wrote, “Reid has emerged as one of President Barack Obama's most aggressive attack dogs. … (Reid) said the Wisconsin congressman's math also doesn't work on Ryan's budget plan, his Medicare overhaul or Mitt Romney's tax proposal. ’So as much as I would like to have the Ryan math apply to my marathons, it doesn't work,’ he said.”

Instead of analyzing Reid’s feud with Ryan, the Los Angeles Times put a different spin on the budding rivalry by instead comparing and contrasting the two men’s athletic achievements: “Perhaps the interesting development is the athletic prowess of the two men. Ryan, a fitness buff, clocked in at a little over 4 hours (in his marathon). Reid, who is more known from his stint as an amateur boxer than his marathon days, ‘came in with a very creditable 3:16,’ according to a Christian Science Monitor story on the race provided by the senator’s office.

“The majority leader, who turns 73 this year, would have been 32 at the time. Ryan, 42, was 20 when he ran his marathon.”

ABC News noted that Monday was “the first day Congress has been in session since Rep. Ryan, the chairman of the House budget committee, was chosen as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate.”

The official response to Reid's comments from Team Ryan, per Politico: “Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck responded later that ‘President Obama should tell his friends in Congress’ to focus on jobs and defense spending cuts instead of marathon times.”

This isn’t Reid’s first time playing the role of provocateur during the 2012 presidential race. Last month he accused Romney of not paying federal income taxes for 10 years.

J.G. Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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