Meet Paul Ryan's Black 'College Sweetheart'

Miami University via Daily Mail
Miami University via Daily Mail

When CNN reported that Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, had a past "college sweetheart" who was African American, The Root's Keli Goff said she was somewhat surprised but ultimately concluded, "[I]f you want to know where a politician's heart lies when it comes to a particular community, it may be best to look at that person's policies — such as his or her record on civil rights — rather than personal relationships," pointing out — while adamantly not calling Ryan racist — that it is entirely possible "to have a black friend, Asian friend, Hispanic friend or Muslim friend or wife and still exhibit prejudice toward that group."  


So perhaps the revelation tells us close to nothing about Ryan as a politician (although he reportedly says "ugly comments" surrounding the situation opened his eyes to racism). But that's not going to stop anyone from being curious about this unusual (for a white conservative elected official, at least), relationship. And on Thursday the Mail Online published some fun facts about the vice presidential hopeful's "black cheerleader college sweetheart," Deneeta Pope, complete with photos. An excerpt:

Deneeta Pope, 40, dated Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan after they met at college

Pope, now a Barack Obama supporter, was thrust into the spotlight by the re-emergence of Ryan's remarks that his 'college sweetheart was black'

Ryan said he suffered 'ugly comments' over the relationship

At Miami University, Pope was a cheerleader and he was in a fraternity

She donated $2,000 to his campaign to become a Congressman in 1997

Pope is now a realtor in Chicago and recently married her second husband

Ryan married Janna Little in 2000 and they have three children


Two years after Ryan's freshman year, Pope arrived to the same prestigious surroundings from a modest home in semi-rural Westerville, Ohio.

Slim but muscular, the 5ft 6ins Pope had her sights set on the cheerleading team of the college's Redhawks football team and was already equipped with the determination and discipline that making the cut required.

Pope was a fitness fanatic at 10, she has recounted. And she had come from a high school, St Francis Desales, in Columbus, Ohio, which boasts an alumni of Olympic medalists, NFL and NBA players.

Read more at the Mail Online.

Listen to Keli Goff respond on The Confab to accusations that it was racist to acknowledge that Pope was African American.