It's VP debate night in America.
Tonight, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will square off from Kentucky in the one and only Vice Presidential debate 2012. And, judging by this Time magazine slideshow, the young congressman from Wisconsin is getting pumped up — P90X style.
Ever since he was selected by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as his running mate, Paul Ryan's online popularity has skyrocketed. But don't think people Google him because of his controversial budget proposal or views on reproductive rights. "Paul Ryan Shirtless" remains the most searched Google term associated with the Wisconsin gym buff. And Republicans seem to be taking advantage of it on the eve of Ryan's debut on the national stage.
Of course, beefcake shots are nothing new in American politics. President Obama himself showed voters in 2008 how fit he was for the Oval Office. And the trend is totally bipartisan. Remember now Senator Scott Brown's (R-MA) debut on the national stage? The serious politician who is now locked in a fiery battle with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Brown started out as a nude model for Cosmopolitan. More abs you can believe in? How about Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL)?
Hopefully Paul Ryan's muscles are not the deciding factor tonight. However, anyone who follows contemporary politics knows that showing some strength and vitality doesn't hurt when paired with public office leadership skills. Ask Russian president Vladimir Putin, who at 60 likes to show off his physique while fighting Siberian bears or flying along endangered cranes. How about Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez? The socialist leader, who just got reelected for another six years, threw some balls on TV to demonstrate he still capable of leading both mentally and physically after his highly publicized battle with cancer.
So VP Biden better is doing some push-ups and pull-ups today, in addition to rehearsing punch lines and zingers.