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Former Alaska Governor and V.P. nominee Sarah Palin will not speak at, or even attend, the Republican National Convention, she confirmed in a statement.

"This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I'm excited to hear them," Palin, the star of the 2008 convention, said.

"Everything I said at the 2008 convention about then-candidate (Barack) Obama still stands today," the 48-year-old professional celebrity added.

Sarah Palin Hair

Palin’s apparent decision to steer clear of the convention marks a stark contrast from four years ago, when she took the presidential race by storm.

Accepting the GOP Vice Presidential nomination, she electrified the party faithful and received widespread praise from previously skeptical pundits.

That also turned out to be her high water mark, however, and her absence from this year's event may indicate what a polarizing figure she's become.

Sources connected to both Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney's camps said she backed out of the RNC altogether after not being offered a speaking slot.

She said she supports Republican presidential candidate Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, but is focusing her efforts elsewhere.

Big Republican names such as Chris Christie, Condoleezza Rice, John McCain, Marco Rubio and even Rick Santorum will speak at the convention.

Romney will officially be nominated on August 30.

Who do you want to win in 2012:

 

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People really want to see Paul Ryan shirtless apparently.

The newly-minted 2012 Republican V.P. nominee has inspired a wave of searches for his sculpted bod, according to a hilarious new Google infographic.

Since Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate on Saturday, the most popular search keywords after Paul's name were "Vice President."

Makes sense ... but "Shirtless" was a close second:

Ryan Shirtless Infographic

"Wiki," always a funny search term in that one could simply go on Wikipedia and type in his name, was third, followed by "Budget" coming in fourth.

The 42-year-old Congressman, who's married and has three kids with Janna Ryan, is certainly younger and better looking than most people in politics.

He's also "fierce" about working out and goes to the U.S. House gym at the crack of dawn every morning. Paul surely has an impressive six pack.

Good luck finding pictures of it online, though.

Paul Ryan Photo

No authentic photos of Ryan's already legendary abs or chest can actually be found using Google ... we looked. If you can prove us wrong, do tell.

Better yet, if you have your own, send those in! The American people demand to know ... about entitlement reform and balancing the federal budget.

And Paul Ryan shirtless. Make it so, Internet. Make it so.

UPDATE: We now have a Paul Ryan shirtless pic!

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Janna Ryan, the wife of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, has quickly and predictably been thrust into the national spotlight since her husband, a Wisconsin Congressman, was announced as the Republican nominee for Vice President by Mitt Romney.

Here are a few things to know about the 43-year-old Janna:

Janna Ryan Photo

1. Janna Ryan is 43, and married Paul in 2000. She is stay-at-home mom raising three young children in Wisconsin, Elizabeth, Charles and Samuel (above).

2. Ryan, whose maiden name was Little, grew up in Madill, Oklahoma. Both of her parents spent their careers as successful lawyers in private practice.

A town in Oklahoma, Little City, is named after her family. Like her parents, Janna has a law degree, having graduated from George Washington in 1998.

3. Her family has strong political - and Democratic - connections; Her uncle, David Boren, served as a Democratic governor of Oklahoma and later as its U.S. senator.

Boren's son, Dan Boren, is Janna's cousin and a member of House of Representatives. A Blue Dog Democrat, he has often voted across party lines.

Continue Reading...

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One day after Mitt Romney announced that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will be his Vice President, the GOP ticket sat down with CBS' 60 Minutes.

Veteran journalist Bob Schieffer definitely did not hold back, asking the 42-year-old Ryan what his role would be: “Are you gonna be the attack dog?”

Ryan's response was direct: “I’m gonna help him win the race.”

In typical Ryan fashion, he was low-key and calm about it, but game for a fight. “It was one against two for awhile, now it’s two against two,” he said.

When the conversation turned to tax returns - a hot topic given Romney's reluctance to release more than to years - Ryan stumbled briefly at first.

“I’m going to release the same amount of years as Governor Romney has,” he said. “I’m gonna be releasing two, which is what he’s releasing."

"But what I hear from people around the [United States], they’re not asking where are the tax returns. They’re asking where the jobs are.”

Deftly pivoting to his preferred talking points (and frankly, issues that are actually important), Ryan successfully avoided that potential quagmire.

The 60 Minutes interview ended with Romney being asked about his gaffe when he announced Ryan as “the next President of the United States.”

Romney laughed about it, before noting that President Obama did the same thing four years ago when he introduced current V.P. Joe Biden.

Who's your pick in 2012?

 

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So, Paul Ryan may be the next President of the United States. Vice President, we mean. Vice President of the United States.

While opinions spread around the country regarding Mitt Romney's running mate, let's go to Hollywood for the reaction of several celebrities to the news. All courtesy of Twitter...

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney

Elizabeth Banks: "I can confirm categorically that I am NOT Mitt Romney's VP nominee. #gamechange."

Michael Ian Black: "Romney/Ryan = same initials as Ronald Reagan. THINK ABOUT IT!!!"

Andy Cohen: I really hope someone has the guts to ask Paul Ryan's stance on the KStew/RPatz situation in California. #NeedClarification

Sanjay Gupta: #43 on the list of things that make you feel old: the VP candidate is younger than you are. paul ryan was born in 1970.

Eva Longoria: Romney's VP pick voted against equal pay for women and repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We can't go backward.

Michael Moore: Channeling Bush, war supporters/military dodgers Romney and Ryan insult those who served by using battleship as their prop.

Rupert Murdoch: Thank God! Now we might have a real election on the great issues of the day. Paul Ryan almost perfect choice.

Andy Richter: I think saying "worst recovery in 70 years" is kinda cute. Doesn't at all beg the phrase "worst recession in 70 years."

Russell Simmons: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, two men who will destroy our people...

Olivia Wilde: Two R's won't make it right. Romney/Ryan are Wrong for America.

What do YOU think? Was Ryan a solid choice?

 

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Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan for Vice President this morning, and apparently thinks very highly of him, as Paul received a promotion within five minutes!

Okay, not really, but in introducing the Wisconsin Congressman and rising GOP star to a Norfolk, Va., crowd, Romney finished his remarks with a gaffe:

"Join me in welcoming the next President of the United States, Paul Ryan!"

Of course ... if President Obama wins reelection, then Ryan wins the White House in 2016, Romney could be proven correct! Chances are that's not what he meant.

Mitt caught his error as Ryan made his way to the podium, then joked that "every now and then I've been known to make a mistake ... I didn't make one with this guy."

"I can tell you this, he's going to be the next Vice President of the United States."

Ryan and his budget-cutting ideas have the potential to transform the 2012 race; both parties responded to his nomination with a "game on" approach.

Support for the mix of spending cuts and tax cuts proposed by Ryan, 42, has become a litmus test on the right, and opposing them a rallying cry on the left.

What do you think: Is Paul Ryan a good choice for V.P.?

 

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced today that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is his pick for Vice President.

The Wisconsin Congressman will be introduced as the V.P. nominee as "The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class" bus tour kicks off in Virginia.

Romney is expected to speak at 8:45 a.m. in Norfolk, Va., with a retired military battleship as a backdrop ... fittingly the U.S.S. Wisconsin.

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney

Two others high on Romney’s short list of VP contenders - former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio - were informed in recent days that they would not be on the ticket.

Instead it will be Paul Ryan, 42, already considered a rising star in the Republican Party, is currently the chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee.

He’s been in Congress since 1999 and is best known this session for his controversial budget plan this term that includes an overhaul of Medicare.

Democrats have persistently claimed his plan would “end Medicare as we know it,” but the GOP considers Ryan a leading voice on fiscal issues.

Both well-versed and telegenic, Ryan has stood by his plan as a solution to an ever-growing deficit and out-of-control entitlement spending.

Ryan has made fiscal discipline the touchstone of his tenure; with Ryan at his side, Romney is doubling down on his perceived economic strengths.

The choice promises a fierce debate over the size and role of government in America, and Democrats are relishing the chance to take on that fight.

Paul Ryan: Good choice by Romney?

 

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was seen dancing up a storm during a dinner on Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa. The woman's got moves!

On the latest leg of her 11-day African tour, the 64-year-old was cheered on by the attendees of the dinner, hosted by the South African Foreign Minister.

Watch Hill get DOWN on the dance floor below!

Clinton has already visited Senegal, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Malawi; after South Africa she'll head to Nigeria, followed by Ghana and Benin.

Last but not least, her trip concludes with a crucial summit being held in Turkey on the situation in Syria. We recommend more dancing to break the ice.

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Elizabeth Banks is doing her part to help President Obama's 2012 reelection bid, extolling the virtues of Planned Parenthood in a new campaign ad.

The 38-year-old Hunger Games actress released a new video praising Obama and Planned Parenthood, while sharing some very personal anecdotes.

Watch the campaign spot below and see what you think:

"Planned Parenthood was my healthcare provider when I didn't have insurance after graduating from college," she says, before delving into detail.

"Yes, I got birth control but it was for massive migraine headaches and my heavy flow," Banks admits. "Yeah, I'm on record saying I had a heavy flow."

"And, unfortunately, these are the things I don't want to discuss with employers."

The actress points out that Obama's opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, has said he would cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

She argues that "95%" of Planned Parenthood's services are not controversial, yet it's become a lightning rod for political controversy.

"For that little 5% that Mitt Romney decides he doesn't agree with, he's going to take away cancer screenings. What is he doing?" she asks.

"He's going to take away people's access to health care close by ... We're talking about working-class ladies who need health care."

"President Obama has not compromised on women's rights," she says, "And that's why President Obama needs to stay in office."

Who do you want to win the 2012 election?

 

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Love him or loathe him, Ted Nugent will never sugar coat his views. As such, it's only a matter of time until he makes more headlines because of them.

Actually, compared to some of his recent tirades against President Barack Obama - encouraging fans to chop heads off, etc. - this one isn't that bad.

Nugent was as extreme and unfiltered as ever when asked about the 2012 election in a recent interview. How does he size up the presidential race?

  • President Obama Pic
  • Ted Nugent Pic

With President Obama and Mitt Romney running tied or close to it in most polls, Ted sees the contrast as one that could not be more polarizing:

"On important issues, I am saddened to admit that Obama represents everything bad about humanity and Romney pretty much all that is good."

"It is really that stark."

Nugent, of course, raised eyebrows earlier this year when he said that "if you can't go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don't even know what you're made of."

Safe to say he's voting for Mitt in November. You?

 

For more of the rocker's political sound bites, browse these Ted Nugent quotes. You have to hand it to the guy for being completely unabashed.

[Photos: WENN.com]

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