November 12th, 2012
06:42 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan says Obama won 'fair and square'

(CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan described his election loss with Mitt Romney last week as a painful surprise but argued the president won re-election "fair and square," according to the congressman's interviews with local news outlets in Wisconsin on Monday.

"It hurts to lose a big election like this, but I don't have any regrets whatsoever," Ryan told The Journal Times of Racine on Monday, adding that they "ran the kind of race we wanted to run" and campaigned on "specific solutions and big ideas."

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The former GOP vice presidential nominee said the campaign was especially "shocked" by the results in Ohio, a crucial battleground that was carried by Obama.

"Once we realized that we weren’t going to win Ohio, that’s when we realized that it wasn’t going to turn out for us," he said on WISN, a CNN affiliate in Milwaukee.

"The numbers we were looking at looked like we stood a pretty good chance of winning," he continued. "So, when the numbers came in, going the other direction. When we saw the turnout that was occurring in urban areas that were unprecedented, it did come as a bit of a shock. So, those are the toughest losses to have - the ones that catch you by surprise."

And to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he described election night-his first loss ever-as a "foreign experience" but ultimately said the race was a "very net positive experience" for him and his wife, Janna.

While public polls indicated the race could potentially be too close to call on election night, President Barack Obama was projected to win the race by midnight (Eastern Standard Time). Florida, the remaining battleground that had yet to decide a winner, was called for the president on Saturday. In the end, Obama won with 51% of the vote to Romney's 48%.

Ryan said Obama's campaign "did a better job of getting the voters to the polls" and ultimately "won fair and square," according to the Journal Times.

Following election night, Ryan returned to his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin and "unplugged," he told the Journal Times. The congressman said he went to his son's basketball games and helped his daughter, Liza, get her hunter safety certificate. Placing a ban on news, Ryan said his family only watched football.

While he lost the presidential race, Ryan defeated his Democratic challenger in Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District and won re-election to an eighth term in the House. He'll soon head back to Capitol Hill for a lame duck session where Congress faces an end-of-the-year deadline to find a deficit-reduction plan and avert the so-called fiscal cliff.

Ryan, echoing calls by House Speaker John Boehner, said the president needs to "lead by putting out specific solutions that we can work from" in determining how to reverse the nation's skyrocketing debt. The House Budget Committee chairman, who confirmed he would continue to hold the position, said he favors tax reform and a "hard look" at entitlement programs.

Democrats, however, are pushing for an increase on tax rates for the wealthiest Americans in addition to spending cuts-a measure that faces strong opposition from the GOP.

"Whether people intended to or not, they re-elected a divided government," Ryan told the Journal Times. "But the difference is, this time we need to work."

As for 2016, he brushed off talk of a presidential run, telling the Journal Sentinel "Let's not talk about that stuff."

"That's four years away," he continued. "I think we're all tired of presidential politics at this time."


– CNN Political Coverage Manager Steve Brusk contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan • Wisconsin
soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Wisconsin, Michigan, Mass, New Hampshire. The states that knew them best defeated them soundly. That should tell you something about their "message". American voters are also tired of the stalling, obstructing, delaying, and filibustering that Republicans did in their last term to try and make this president a one term president. Country has spoken and it is now time to work together on compromise.

    November 13, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. RGF

    "Ryan seems rational and that is a change" what ? He's a committed devotee of the Rand school of wackos. Most rational people read that stuff early in college, or in high school, and soon realized what it is: a bunch of right wing posturing that has no basis in reality. You saw it all over Mittens campaign, the 47%, the takers vs the makers etc. I know reasonable (?) intelligent people that think the only reason Obama got reelected is that everyone who voted for him expects something! Major denial there. I hope Ryan survives to 16 and runs, it would be another republican roadkill loss.

    November 13, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. FREEDOM

    @ Stephen Are you kidding? The vast majority of blue states don't even pay income tax – and that's going to get worse, because there will be no jobs. The red states are the ones that are thriving and everyone is migrating to. I don't see a vast amount of people moving to NY for the great cost of living and job opportunities. It really is about the economy – and work ethic – and the freedom of opportunity in America.

    November 13, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. NOTAGOPFAN

    "Whether people intended to or not, they re-elected a divided government," Ryan told the Journal Times. "But the difference is, this time we need to work."

    Thank you for admiting that you guys were not working for America Obama's 1st term.

    November 13, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. John

    Nice this time they will work! just goes to show they don't care about anything but themselves why did thet get relected? the GOP only works for a small minority of people.

    November 13, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Where were you on the night Americans waved Ole Glory, sang patriotic songs and chanted Obama got Osama, Obama got Osama, Obama got Osama? O' my bad! Where were you on the night Americans waved Ole Glory, sang patriotic songs and chanted Four More Years, Four More Years, Four More Years??? Hehehe!

    Congratulations President Obama! Four More Years baby!

    November 13, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Canuck

    @AncientTexan
    "Romney/Ryan were very good, honorable and honest men"

    I would be interested on what you base this statement , as all evidence indicates otherwise – you see what you want to see , I guess.

    November 13, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Da Observer

    "When we saw the turnout that was occurring in urban areas that were unprecedented".... and we realized that actually a LOT of people didn't like our ideas... , says Paul Ryan, ruefully.
    He continued, paraphrasing now, "If we only could have kept the vote among our supporters, white , tea party, middle and upper class , we would have swept the electoral vote. It's just very unfortunate that people, and women too, turned out in such unexpected numbers. We are not really sure that is what our founding fathers had in mind..."

    November 13, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. CAW

    "FREEDOM

    @ Stephen Are you kidding? The vast majority of blue states don't even pay income tax – and that's going to get worse, because there will be no jobs."

    Uh...Freedom 7 of the top 8 Federal gross taxes states are blue states. New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois are the top 7 of 8(texas is the only 'red' state to break in there.

    November 13, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Save the Rich, Vote GOP

    FREEDOM
    @ Stephen Are you kidding? The vast majority of blue states don't even pay income tax – and that's going to get worse, because there will be no jobs. The red states are the ones that are thriving and everyone is migrating to. I don't see a vast amount of people moving to NY for the great cost of living and job opportunities. It really is about the economy – and work ethic – and the freedom of opportunity in America.

    ________________________________

    Freedom – why is it that red states take more federal money than they pay? Why is it the red states have the worst education levels and health care in the US? You are a true Romney/Ryan supporter, no need for facts. You might need to actually research how well those red states are doing, because they are certainly not thriving. I know, facts suck.

    November 13, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Marcia

    It is the red states that are the taker states-getting more than they pay in -Most blue states are booming with new jobs as in Ohio.People do more to NY for job opportunites and that cannot be denied-the Republicans most learn lessons or they will be a marginal party-keep OUT of peoples bedrooms-get OUT of religion-you are to Run the country-that is what we want-cooperate with whatever President the people have voted for-that is Also your Job-If you continue to obstuct-expect to disappear as a party in 2014.Another lesson-money is not as important as your candidate and your candidates must be for 100% of the American people in deed not just in words

    November 13, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. jack

    The statement "they ran the kind of race that we wanted to" makes you and Romney out to be nothing but a couple of fools. Who stopped you? Why didn't you? The other statement "re-elected a divided government" "But the difference is, this time we need to work" is why you lost. Too many people saw you as not willing to work by following McConell's cue. In other words, you jerked off the country and it's problems along with the american people. I find that statement an insult and clearly shows us your level of integrity.

    November 13, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. rrogers

    Really, Mr. Lyin' Ryan???
    You ""ran the kind of race we wanted to run" ?
    You and Romney made up so many lies – even going as far as saying that US car makers were moving their jeep manufacturing to China and scaring the bezusus out of employees in those manufacturing plants... and you refused to admit that it was a lie even when the car makers publicly said you were lying...
    Well, the only truth you have spoken so far is "Obama won fair and square".
    Next time, try running a more godly campaign and refrain from lies. Remember – lying is an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs). A little shame and a visit to the confessional might do you some good. Then you might understand that although you ran the kind of race that you wanted to run at the time, it was not the right race...

    November 13, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Barb

    VOTE! in 2 years the congress will be up for relection whoever doesn't work with this President, vote them all out

    November 13, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. max3333444555

    I like a divided government. Id rather see them do nothing than play politics with the tax code every 4 years.

    November 13, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. logicalgirl

    While I did not vote for Romney/ Ryan and have in the past not been a fan of Ryan due to his positions in the state of WI, I was very pleased with his grace with this. Very nicely said and very glad that everyone is ready to buckle down and work hard for a better America. Very classy, Mr. Ryan. Very classy.

    November 13, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Steve

    By Freedom;
    "@ jj The states wanting to secede don't want or need a liberal's "help." "

    I love people who say things like this. It just shows their complete ignorance and stupidity. The top 5 states that are on the 'gubmint' dime are all red states. They take the lions share of medicare, medicaid, SS, general welfare money, food stamps, etc...

    November 13, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Ali

    They need to get to work 'this time'?? If they'd actually done any work 'last time' the results might have been different.

    November 13, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. NickAnast

    "FREEDOM
    @ Stephen Are you kidding? The vast majority of blue states don't even pay income tax – and that's going to get worse, because there will be no jobs. The red states are the ones that are thriving and everyone is migrating to."

    And this is why the GOP keeps losing: totally disconnected from the facts. Sorry, Freedom, but it is a verifiable fact that blue states send more federal tax dollars to Washington than they get back, while red states (including Texas) receive more federal tax dollars from Washington than they send.

    November 13, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    On election night I called up my cousin Fleetwood Mac and I said how you doing sis? She replied...LANDSLIDE! Hehehe.

    Four More Years baby!

    November 13, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. JJC

    Sorry @FREEDOM, but Stephen is correct. As a whole blue states contribute more than they take from the federal government, while red states (think all of the poor southern states) take more than they give. That is simply the facts, and no wishing will make it otherwise.

    November 13, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Dave Jaipersaud

    Ryan must be lying, has his head in the sand, or just totally clueless to what vision/policies Americans see as good for this country. Facts do matter. Ha! Ha! – Romney/Ryan & the Republicans lost. What a bunch of losers. The GOP can try to blame it on Democrats ground game, weather, too much regulations, tax increases on the rich, climate change etc. but the people saw through all the lies and nonsense they were selling. I hope the Republican learnt a lesson that the American people are not forgetful and stupid. We can remember clearly what happened when the Republicans were in charge of the White House.

    It was painful watching Fox News try to spin a major Republican loss into a major Republican win. All of their projections that Romney would win were dead wrong. It proves that Fox News has not credibility. Everyone of them. So for those folks who watch Fox News and listen to House and Senate Republicans and their surrogates spew their lies as gospel, this is a wake-up call. They are leading you down a losing path.

    Now we can continue to build and move this country forward.

    November 13, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Dave from Georgia

    Ryan, shocked? Yes, I am sure.

    November 13, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Rachel

    "Whether people intended to or not, they re-elected a divided government," Ryan told the Journal Times. "But the difference is, this time we need to work."

    Here's a tip: "We the people" need to work ALL THE TIME to earn our pay. I strongly suggest you all do the same.

    November 13, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. clarke

    Ryan, echoing calls by House Speaker John Boehner, said the president needs to "lead by putting out specific solutions that we can work from" in determining how to reverse the nation's skyrocketing debt. So really what does his statement say?
    How about solutions that are good for our country, not solutions that are good for just one party. How about coming together for all the people, find a balance. Go with the best data, it doesn't make a difference who came up with a solution, what makes the difference if it works. That statement alone tells why you lost and you were surprised! Wow

    November 13, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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