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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan can add one more burning issue to his agenda as the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives: how to get rid of the stench of cigarette smoke.

Ryan said on Sunday he has been trying to come up with ways to remove the smell of cigarettes from the House speaker’s office that he took over on Thursday after he replaced the retiring John Boehner, a heavy smoker.

Asked if he is going to be able to get the smell of smoke out of the place, the fitness-conscious congressman said, “That’s a really good question. And we’ve been talking about that.”

“They have these ozone machines, apparently, that you can detoxify the environment. But I’m going to have to work on the carpeting in here,” Ryan told the NBC program “Meet the Press.”

“You know, if you ever go to like a hotel room or get a rental car that’s been smoked in? That’s what this smells like,” Ryan added.

To complicate things, Ryan does not have a residence in Washington and sleeps in his office.

“I’m just a normal guy,” Ryan told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

CNN interviewer Dana Bash, with a laugh, then told him, “Yes, but normal guys don’t sleep in their offices.”

Ryan said that he lives in Janesville, Wisconsin, and commutes back and forth to Washington every week.

“I just work here. I don’t live here. So I get up very early in the morning. I work out. I work until about 11:30 at night. I go to bed. And I do the same thing the next day,” Ryan said.

“It actually makes me more efficient. I can actually get more work done by sleeping on a cot in my office. I have been doing it for at least a decade, and I’m going to keep doing it.”

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan wields the speaker’s gavel for the first time on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron