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. TM

    Tough luck Ryan. You DID call them liars. And we DO have that on RECORD. Good luck with the veteran's vote now. They REALLY DON'T like having their honesty questioned, especially by someone like you.

    April 1, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    Romney/Ryan 2012, it just rolls off the tongue.

    Ryan is sure to be the VP nominee, if the GOP establishment uses the deep, analytical, and logical decision making process they used in '08.

    He shor' IS purty!

    April 1, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. David

    Military spending and military invasions and supporting the super rich. With Ryan's comments, he stepped on one half of the Republican equation and was most likely reminded by the Republican powers that be that you don't criticize the military.

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

    Yo, I am very proud of my man mitt the draft dodger says paul.

    April 1, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. a in austin

    Flip flop – Oh, that's not what I meant to say. Where have I heard that before?

    April 1, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Thomas

    Young and inexperienced ! At least Ryan admits his mistakes , unlike Romney !

    Paul Ryan like Mitt Romney, and Mitt's five sons never did any military service ,

    Romney / Rubio or Ryan . An R & R administration , Rest and Relaxation for the Rich .

    April 1, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. The GOP still doesn't get it!

    Good job Repukes! Just remember that voters in this country DO NOT suffer from amnesia or short term memory like you do...lol

    April 1, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Wake up people

    It's official, he'll be Robmey's running mate. The king and prince of flip flops.

    OBAMA 2012!
    For real people!

    April 1, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Bill D

    I'm tired of politicians (not just Ryan) who say stupid and inaccurate things and then try to get by by saying junk like "I misspoke" as if that makes their carelessness with accuracy and truthfulness OK. By the way... Ryan's budget proposals look like a Marie Antoinette budget ... "Let them eat cake!" Take away from the folks on the bottom... who cares if they don't have bread, they can eat cake like the 2% that the Repubs want to help out.

    April 1, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. marty

    Paul Ryan looks like the moon-eyed kid in school who is trying to persuade the teacher that he wasn't the instigator in a classroom brawl.

    April 1, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. beevee

    I have least trust on Mr. Ryans honesty. It has become the habit of politicians making damning statements first and then apologizing after damage has been done. May be his budget proposal i s also not good and biased towards the wealthy.

    April 1, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. stevetall

    And that ain't all, Doofus. You've done a lot of mis-thinking, too. Try considering someone other than the Koch brothers and your other corporate slavemasters for a change. The most of us Americans are counting on you, and so far, you've been a huge disappointment.

    April 1, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Kimo

    Bush launched two wars and paid for them by cutting taxes. Brilliant!

    April 1, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Bob

    When a Conservative misspeaks it's unforgivable. When a liberal misspeaks it"s taken out of context and forgot about the next day...

    April 1, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Jorge U.U. Boosh

    After "Dubya" TRASHED the country and nearly COMPLETELY RUINED the economy , turning a SURPLUS into a 1TRLLION $ DEFICIT, the GOP expects us to return them to office????!!!???

    Considering the ABSOLUTE MESS country was in late 2008/early 2009 we have come a L-O-N-G way, and President Obama has done a great job. He deserves 4 more years to finish cleaning up a HUGE MESS.

    April 1, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. rv

    Is this not typical GOP behavior? When someone does not conform to their version of reality they call them liars or the new f-word "liberal". It is sad, this is what this great country has now for leaders, an intellectually challenged bunch of clowns.

    April 1, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. mego98125

    OK...what WAS the point? You didn't mean to call the military collectively 'liars'...but you think they are liars when it comes to describing their budget? That somehow the PRESIDENT is trying to screw with our national security and the military just toes the line? REALLY???

    April 1, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. dd

    hmmmm...shocking!!....a rep. misspoke...omg...a dem misspoke...whats next, a do nothing gov't that only talks trash??....oh wait, we already have that.

    April 1, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Dave

    Yo Kimo, I always thought that. Especially when he did it. I said to myself, How the BLANK you gonna start 2 wars & lower taxes. We all know that turned out as a disaster. Now time for they Richest to pay their fair share.

    April 1, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Ryan is just a typical delusional republican legislator that is not capable of rational thought.

    April 1, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Mark

    Cutting $50 billion when we spend nearly 6X the amount of the next country(China) hardly seems like a 'sky is falling scenario'. Why do we need to spend more than 2 or 3X as much? If our 'allies' don't like it, let them chip into the pot to keep our presence there. So lets cut money from social services so the fat cat defense contractors can all still make their multi-million dollar bonus'.

    April 1, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. diridi

    Why do you talk to this idiot. His ideology is totally idiotic....He wants rich to escape from Tax...ha...two wars, Tax cuts to rich...didn't he know., nasty thug of this nation.

    April 1, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Dave

    "Paul Ryan looks like the moon-eyed kid in school who is trying to persuade the teacher that he wasn't the instigator in a classroom brawl." @Marty – agree with you 100% and he's been looking like that (and acting like that) since the day he got elected. He's just a younger example of everything that's wrong with Congress....

    April 1, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Linda

    The only budget smoke and mirrors is your concocted Ryan Budget Plan. It does not move us forward morally or fiscally.

    April 1, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Allen

    Ryan's a child and an imbecile. The irony here is that Paul Ryan is the biggest overt LIAR out there. He deliberately and repeatedly lies about what his Medicare-killing budget proposal actually contains, and continues to do so even after being called on it. He's an embarrassment to Congress.

    April 1, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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