Interview with Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan

Interview with Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan

By The Situation Room - August 30, 2012

BLITZER: Mitt Romney's getting ready for his big night tonight, the biggest of his political career so far. Last night his running mate Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, he stole the show with a very powerful speech and Paul Ryan is joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Congratulations to you.


BLITZER: How excited, how pumped are you about all of this?

RYAN: Very.

BLITZER: Because it's been moving very quickly in your life.

RYAN: That's true, but I've been working on these issues for a long time.

BLITZER: The issues, but the fact that you're the vice presidential nominee. A few weeks ago you didn't think that was in the cards.

RYAN: Well when you submit yourself to vetting, which occurred a few months ago I always had the thought in the back of my mind and then it got real, so to speak. I'm excited because Mitt Romney is going to finish telling the story that we started telling last night. He's going to introduce himself to the American people so they get to know the kind of man and the leader that he is, that we know. He's going to offer his solutions to get people back to work.

BLITZER: Is he going to go through specifics like you did last night --

RYAN: Yes, he's -- he's going to go into his plan for a stronger middle class. He's going to go in more granular (ph) detail about these ideas to get people back to work. He's going to talk about how we need real leadership to make key decisions now before we have a debt crisis on our horizon, before we lose grip of the American idea and before we find ourselves in a situation like Europe is facing and he's going to introduce himself to the American people in a way so that they can get to know him like we do and I'm excited about seeing that.

BLITZER: Because the debt problem, the trillions and trillions of dollars didn't just start with the Obama administration --

RYAN: Absolutely not --

BLITZER: There's plenty of blame to go around --

RYAN: There's plenty of blame to go around, both parties own this --

BLITZER: During the Bush administration it doubled.

RYAN: Yes, so I've been saying that for years. All I would say is President Obama made it worse. The debt went up $5.5 trillion from the Obama years, and more to the point this crisis is coming closer. It's already hitting Europe and President Obama has had four budgets and four times he avoided tackling the problem. The Senate hasn't passed a budget for three years. That's the opposite of leadership and Mitt Romney is going to provide the kind of leadership we need to get this thing under control.

BLITZER: I know I have a limited amount of time. A couple of things from your speech last night, Erskine Bowles (ph), you know the Bowles-Simpson Commission, you were a member of that. You criticized the president for saying he rejected the recommendations and you rejected the recommendations as well.

RYAN: And in the next paragraph of my speech I said we offered alternatives. So if you don't like this idea then offer your own. That's what we did in the House and what I did was I took what we saw were the best ideas from Bowles-Simpson and added other ideas to it and passed it. President Obama did none of that. President Obama said I don't like this plan and offered nothing in return.

BLITZER: He did come up close with a deal with John Boehner. They were --

RYAN: That wasn't even close to actually fixing the problem. It was a small or medium-sized deal, and cutting a back room deal that gives you (INAUDIBLE) liability is not leadership. Offering a plan, submitting a budget to Congress that fixes a problem that's leadership and we haven't seen it for four years from President Obama.

BLITZER: Now the DM Plant (ph) in Jamesville (ph). You're getting some grief on that. Do you want to revise and amend what you --

RYAN: No, I don't want to revise --

BLITZER: -- what you said? Just to remind our viewers, you said that the president came there and he did come there --

RYAN: Yes. BLITZER: -- in February of 2008 and he said you know if the government takes action you guys will have a plan here for 100 years.

RYAN: That's right.

BLITZER: But they announced that plant was shutting down in June of 2008. That was during the Bush administration --

RYAN: Well it's still idle. The point is this is a story of the Obama economy, a man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring. He got elected. He put his policies in place and the plant still shut down. My friends who I went to high school with --

BLITZER: But that was a decision General Motors made --

RYAN: -- are still not working (INAUDIBLE). I'm not saying it was his decision. I'm saying he came and made these promises, makes these commitments, sells people on the notion that he's going to do all these great achievements and then none of them occur. These are empty promises that become broken promises and that's the story of the Obama economy. He said he was going to cut the deficit in half in four years. We're nowhere close. He said unemployment, if he passed the stimulus, would never go above eight percent. It's been above eight percent ever since, so what we have here are a man who ran for president with grandiose plans and promises, great rhetoric, none of the results.

BLITZER: But you were with him when he saved the auto industry though. You supported that legislation.

RYAN: Yes, I voted for the bill in the House which would have prevented TARP from being used for auto. This is under the Bush administration.


RYAN: I didn't like the idea of TARP being used, so I voted for a bill which would have prevented TARP from being used, which is open ended. We're now 25 billion and counting and lost taxpayer dollars. I voted for a bill which would have far more minimized that, but President Obama and President Bush used TARP for it.

BLITZER: How are you preparing for your debate with Joe Biden?

RYAN: By preparing.

BLITZER: What are you doing?

RYAN: Well I'm studying. I'm reading Joe Biden speeches, reading -- watching Joe Biden tape and just studying on all the various issues.

BLITZER: He's pretty good.

RYAN: He's good, but I've been in Congress 14 years and this is what we do, especially in the House. The Senate, they don't debate as often and as frequently. That's all we do in the House, is we debate. I love debating. That's one of the things I like about this job.

BLITZER: Congratulations.

RYAN: Thanks, Wolf. Appreciate it.

BLITZER: We'll spend some time together.

RYAN: All right.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.

RYAN: Sounds good.

BLITZER: Good luck.

RYAN: Yes, see you around, see you on the trail.

BLITZER: We definitely will.

RYAN: All right.

BLITZER: Thank you.

RYAN: Thanks. 

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