GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has railed against the Washington political class and pitched his outsider status as a selling point. Romney hit on this theme in May when he said that "someone who's never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn't understand" the economy and how jobs are created. Romney's in line with much of the tea-partyized GOP, which hails a lack of experience in Washington as a virtue.

Yet Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Mitt Romney's pick for vice president, has worked in Washington nearly all of his adult life. He did stints at a conservative think tank and as a staffer for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). He first ran for Congress at the tender age of 28.