CLEVELAND — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan surprisingly drew some boos Tuesday morning during remarks to Texas Republicans — but it was all in good fun.
Ryan, the headline speaker at Tuesday's Texas delegation breakfast at the Republican National Convention, began with a mischievous bent. As he sought to discuss GOP unity, he enlisted a comparison with college football rivalries.
"We've got really big problems in our country," Ryan said. "And in our party, we've had, let's say, a really big family discussion," he added, less than 24 hours after major delegate disruptions on the RNC floor.
Then he shifted to Texas football, name-checking several of the major football teams and his own home state powerhouse: "You've got Horned Frogs, Aggies ... You've got Longhorns ... and Wisconsin Badgers."
For added measure, he showed the Horns' "hook em" hand sign and then the Horns down sign.
"See my point?" he asked a confused crowd. "You have all these teams and boy, those rivalries are tough. I mean..especially when the Big 12 [Conference] is the Big 12. You guys are at each other's throats. It's tough."
"I mean, I hate to tell you this and will probably be booed off stage ..." he said with a smile. "I'm a big hunter, and I have two bird dogs and their names are 'Boomer' and 'Sooner.'"
The room broke out into laughter and boos.
Ryan, whose wife Janna is an Oklahoma native, went on to describe the University of Texas-University of Oklahoma annual meeting in Dallas.
"But when one of the teams advances, to a big bowl game? Or a national championship? Don't you root for the Aggies if you are a Longhorn?"
The Texas Republican audience then broke out into laughter.
"You don't?" a perplexed speaker asked, adding that his whole point was "obliterated."
"Well, let me tell you how we do it where I come from," he said. "I come from Big Ten country, so we fight like heck against Ohio State or Michigan. And then, when it doesn't go our way or they make it to the Rose Bowl or they go to the national championship, we root for them because we're in the same conference."
"Start thinking that way," he said in feigned exasperation. "Holy moly. This explains everything right now. Geez.
Join Us at the GOP Convention on Facebook Live: If you could ask Republicans one thing, what would it be? Our reporters will be in Cleveland for the 2016 Republican National Convention and plan to stream live interviews with Texans in attendance throughout the week. Visit us on Facebook to weigh in with your questions and watch the latest videos.