April 1st, 2012
10:18 AM ET
2 years ago

Rep. Paul Ryan: 'I really misspoke'

(CNN) – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday he misspoke earlier in the week when he accused military officials of not being honest about the Pentagon budget.

“I really misspoke,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I didn’t mean to make that kind of an impression. So, I was clumsy in how I was describing the point I was trying to make.”

On Thursday, the Wisconsin congressman said senior military leaders had been misleading when they defended a decrease in Pentagon spending proposals. He argued that the generals were not “giving us their true advice” and accused them of toeing an administration line.

"I think there is a lot of budget smoke and mirrors in the (administration's) Pentagon budget, which is not really a true, honest and accurate budget. When you confront military experts - retired or active - they concede these things to us," Ryan said.

His comments came after he unveiled his plan for the 2013 budget, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House on Thursday. The GOP proposal protects defense spending by replacing a $55 billion scheduled cut in the Pentagon budget with cuts elsewhere in the federal government.

Republicans have long argued against the previously arranged Pentagon cuts, reached in a deal between Congress and the White House in August, and praised Ryan’s budget for undoing the reductions.

However, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded to Ryan’s remarks in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, saying “there’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus ... calling us, collectively, liars.”

Dempsey stood by his testimony before Congress earlier this year in which he said the Pentagon’s budget was based on a “strategy-driven” process.

On Sunday, Ryan told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that he called Dempsey to apologize and clarify his comments.

“What I was attempting to say is, President Obama put out his budget number for the Pentagon first, $500 billion cut, and then they began the strategy review to conform the budget to meet that number,” Ryan said. “We think it should have been the other way around.”

On the same program Sunday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also commented on the stir surrounding Ryan’s remarks.

“I think we have to take the generals' word as they give it to us,” he said. “We're going to move in the direction of making sure that America still is No. 1 in the world in defense, and the defense sequester, which I suspect Congressman Ryan was referring to, is something that many of us are looking at as something that could put us in a position to no longer be No. 1.”

– CNN’s Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Paul Ryan • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Too little, too late - we know what you're up to and it is NOT "We the People".

    It's the top 1%

    April 1, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Sadie Boyd

    Paul, you are just plain clumsy...please go away...

    April 1, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. GOP Hate America

    what a phony. The GOP always claim so much to be military people and almost all of them dodge going to war.

    April 1, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. jatovi

    So the military and the rich get a blank check while everyone else has to live on a budget?

    April 1, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. Pat

    To bad life is on tape, Paul Ryan. So calling a person a liar and then saying you misspoke is the new way of admitting that you were lying. I love this new Republican walk back with their new favorite word "MISSPOKE". They think that stops the need to apologize for their rash statements.

    April 1, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Dave

    Yo Paul, NICE! you are attached at the hip when it comes to your boy mitt. That ranks up there with RUSSIIA IS OUR BIGGEST ENEMY. Look, all of us Americans know you guys are going to do whatever it takes to Rig this election with the REPRESSION of votes from the elderly & minorities. I watched you & Mitt & Rick last night on C-Span. It was the comparable to that of DOOM & GLOOM. Negative, negative, negative, I got news for you & plasticman mitt. The economy is getting better & better. While The Prez is getting absolutly cheered by 5000 college kids, you guy are just, EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERTHING BLOWS. I just cant stop laughing at yo YAHOOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 1, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. MaryM

    Ryan is a snake just like Walker, but much more dangerous. Good people of Wisconsin, PLEASE vote these snakes out of office asap.

    April 1, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. anon-i-mouse

    The pentagon budget does need cut! I'd rather see that than see a lot of other things go. Our military spending is out of control and if these republicans are truly wanting to get our nation's fiscal house in order, they need to make sure we have a lean, efficient military. That makes a lot more sense than to be gutting education! Cut the military, increase pell grants! That's they way to make a better future for our country!

    April 1, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. DEcember 2012

    So the Commander in Chief put out a budget and Ryan can't take it. This is beyond hypocritical.

    April 1, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Dave

    Yo Paul, while were on this subject. here was your boy about 47 years ago. Daddy rich mormon can you send me to France so I can get all up in that dodgin thing. Gee thanks daddy rich mormon. If they come lookin for me just blame it all on the LDS mission thing.

    April 1, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Whatever

    LMBO they just can't handle power... loose lips sink ships and crazy ideas!!!!

    April 1, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Dave

    It crackes me up when 99% of the polls show The Prez up by around 17 points against Mr. Personality & Rassmussen say its a tie. Ya think teir in bed with Fox, DUH!!!!!

    April 1, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Video Guy

    I think Mr Ryan should spend a little time in a Boot Camp followed by a year on the front lines. I wish I did not believe this, but I think a lot of this military spending things is a effort to keep the war machine making money for the rich.

    April 1, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. diridi

    People got to be idiots to elect this idiot with No brain. How can you reduce deficit without raising taxes on rich. They do not pay dime, and did not pay a penny....nonsense, idiot. Cut your social security, and medicare, silly....in a gun free society, guns prevail...don't you know...enough of GOP thugs...

    April 1, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. David in FL

    @Dave , let me put this in as kind and gentle terms as I can. you do not know of what you speak.

    April 1, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Hmmm

    Oh come on 700 billion dollars to pay collectively for a military about a third of the size we had under Reagan and he spent 200 billion LESS a year, there has to be some BS going on here and something needs to be done

    April 1, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Karl Jonas

    Mr. Ryan, generals don't get to be generals by not giving their "true advice," especially the chairman of the joint chiefs. If they're that wimpy then they should retire. They weren't hesitant to give their "true advice" when Obama wanted to reduce the troops a year a so ago and they wanted a surge. What did they get? A surge. You didn't misspeak. You lied. Just like you do when you're asked for details on your budgets, cause there are no details!

    Mr. McConnell, what are you smoking? The US spends more on defense than the next 10 countries combined! Trimming waste is going to drop us from the number 1 spot? Not likely. McConnell will say anything just to trash the President.

    April 1, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Ryan is not qualified to be vice-president. Woe to Romney if he chooses Ryan to be his running mate. Both men cannot control what comes out their mouths.

    April 1, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. Dave

    Romney, EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS, Ryan, EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS They are perfect for each other. As much as you guys want to talk down the economy, the rest of us see it improving everyday. It doesnt suck & it doesnt blow. You guys do.

    April 1, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Ryan you lie. Rumknee lie . Gopt lie .they are all liers. Obama / biden 2012. The only way to go. No more wars

    April 1, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. once upon a horse

    a majority of the time when someone in politics comes back and claims they "mis-spoke" the NEW term of the 21st century...it means they said something they REALLY feel but did not mean to say it in public. Sorry Ryan but like all the others Republican or Democrat the term "mis-spoke" is just a myth.

    April 1, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Tony

    Seeing the 2013 budget Ryan proposed, which gives the rich more tax cuts and ends Medicare as we know it for people who are 55 years old or younger to pay for it, Wisconsin voters mis-voted when they sent Ryan to Congress.

    April 1, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. gg

    i think the people that voted for him mis-spoke

    April 1, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Dave

    Yo, Dave in FL, HOLDBACK, HOLDBACK, HOLDBACK, the tabbynaclke way. Why dont you just say what you are thimkin or even prove your boy mitt DIDNT dodge?

    April 1, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. GOP = Greed Over People

    Guess Ryan realizes the entire country is not made up of tea baggers and his "red meat" rhetoric was called out for what it was, calling the generals liars.

    Of course, the tea baggers would have cheered him calling the generals liars, and shout "USA" like they did when the gay service member asked a question during the debates.

    April 1, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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