Right before the New Hampshire presidential primary last winter, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark was waiting for a plane from Washington, D.C., to Boston when she saw the Wisconsin leader of the U.S. House, and engaged him in friendly conversation, introducing herself as “Katherine Clark from Massachusetts,” she told a New England Council breakfast Monday.
After discussion of Clark’s plans to campaign in New Hampshire for Hillary Clinton and Ryan’s attempts to steer her toward the Republican side, Ryan asked, “So Katherine, what do you do?”
Clark, who has since become one of Ryan’s more high-profile critics, told the House speaker she was a member of Congress, leading to an “awkward conversation” where he said he had not noticed the pin she wore identifying herself as a congresswoman.
“He was horrified,” Clark told reporters after her breakfast speech. “He really just sort of started sputtering, and he said to his staff member who was standing there, ‘Did you know she was in Congress?’ And she said, ‘Well, I saw her pin.'”
Rep. Clark has served in the House with Rep. Ryan for three years.
Now, there are 435 members of the House, and I don’t expect Rep. Ryan to recognize every single one on sight. But that’s what the pins are for!
And what’s odd is that, when meeting people, most members of Congress are savvy enough to say things like “good to see you” instead of “good to meet you,” because they can’t possibly remember every person they’ve met. Yet Paul Ryan seems to have all the savvy of Michael Scott, doubling down on the awkwardness over & over. YOU? In Congress? Are you sure? I’m going to have to ask my staff to confirm this.