November 12th, 2012
06:42 PM ET
1 year 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. Laurie in Spokane

    Well, at least Ryan didn't bash the President too badly, and call the election unfair. Republicanss just don't seem to get it do they, and, were so surprised they lost. Don't they understand we DO NOT WANT their ultra right, conservative ideas shoved down our throats? Don't they understand we think Republicans are protecting the extremely rich people, and that Romney in particular has never really had to work a day in his life? Having offshort account in the Caymans certainly didn't help him either. The Republican Party as it is now is DEAD.

    November 13, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "But the difference is, this time we need to work."

    So it's now official written-in-stone GOP/Teatroll strategery: whenever a Dem POTUS is in his first term, they will do nothing other than obstruct, throw a fit, manufacture crises and go off the irrational deep end n order to try to ruin him...and will only start to bother doing anything constructive if the "make him a one term president" strategery doesn't work and he gets re-elected. Good to know.

    November 13, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I hope Ryan told those rats John Sununu, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McDonnell, Karl Rove et al and a few others the same thing because they are responsible for sinking your ship.

    November 13, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Larry in Houston

    after reading most of these comments – I'm glad that Houston has turned Blue – we've re-elected a Democrat Mayor / a Democrat Sheriff / and the list goes ON – San Antonio & Austin (the Capitol) has NOW Turned BLUE.
    Texas hass 28 Electoral Votes – and when election tme rolls around next time, we don't have to wait for Florida ( who have a difficult time "counting" ) to see election results.

    November 13, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Da Observer

    Compare the old Union states with the old confederate states and how they voted in 2012:
    10 of 11 confederate states voted romney, 20 of 23 or so old Union states voted for Obama.
    Does that tell you something?

    Paul, I fully agree with your comments: "Wisconsin, Michigan, Mass, New Hampshire. The states that knew them [romney and ryan ] best defeated them soundly. That should tell you something about their "message".

    November 13, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. hunterba

    America really dodged a bullet. This man, with his committment to the philosophies of Ayn Rand, was an albatross around Romney's neck. And unfortuntely we haven't heard the last of him because he was re-elected.

    November 13, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. RES

    "Surprise" and "no regrets" speaks volumes for his narrow & closed mindeness!

    November 13, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "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."

    Indeed. I say again: the first thing the Dems in the House should propose and force to a vote is legislation that would limit the maximum amount of federal aid a state can receive to the amount of federal taxes paid by its citizens. Watch how fast the GOP/Teatrolls throw a fit over it and vote such legislation down, thereby putting it on the record that they really do recognize the importance of the fedearal government's role in providing assistance to its citizens. Then, we can tell them to shut their fat yaps about "takers" and "makers" and force them to get down to business. Or hey, let's see them support it...after all, it would force red states to "live within their means" and is inherently "fiscally responsible" legislation. It would be ever so enjoyable to watch all the rural red-state conservative Teatrolls learn their lesson the hard way.

    November 13, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. GI Joe

    Who cares what that lying sack has to say. He lies in Congress, he lied on the VP trail, and he will continue to lie.

    Wisconsin - VOTE HIM OUT.

    November 13, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. stacey

    congrats president Obama!!!!!!!!

    November 13, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. LeRoy

    After reading that Ryan run the campaign the way they wanted, I can only feel sorry for them for not running the campaign for the majority of the people which is how Amerca works, HELLO!

    November 13, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. O SUX

    Keep drinking the kool aid! Obama is a horrible president, and the republicans could not scare up someone of worth to run against him.

    November 13, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Facts don't Lie

    I guess Ryan hasn't looked at FoxNews lately because they are still saying just the opposite.

    November 13, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Richard

    Fair and square, this from a guy whose party made a herculean effort to suppress the vote wherever they could. They won't learn this lesson until they lose the congress which is coming up in the 2014 election. Thats when we sweep the teabots out!

    November 13, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Larry in Houston

    @ Sniffit – I doubt if they do such a thing – (that makes too much sense) (for congress)

    November 13, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. hypatia

    "When we saw the turnout that was occurring in urban areas that were unprecedented, it did come as a bit of a shock." translation: when we realized our attempts to disenfranchise voters weren't working....

    November 13, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Country B4 Party

    Excuse me? Did he just admit that they purposely didn't do any work? As if we didn't already know this. It's amazing that the GOP want to paint some people as lazy and living off the govt, but will elect tea party reps who get paid to purposely do nothing. Time to stop wasting our taxes and vote them all out in 2014!

    November 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. rocket7575

    I don't think the repub party is dead. They have some good ideas about smaller gov, cutting waste, and lowering our debt. But, the hypocritical ideology of "liberty" is laughable. When they learn to stay out of social issues (i.e. abortion, contraception) they will earn my vote.

    November 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Rationalintn

    Ryan and the rest of the republicans seem to have a real problem with math.

    November 13, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Debbie

    The president has consistently put out "specific solutions", but it is hard to hear them over the cacophony of the tea party and Grover Norquist.
    During the last term, republicans could have gotten spending reductions in far greater proportion than any meager increase in taxation. Now, I think most of what the president and democrats were willing to "compromise" on are no longer going to be on the table.
    Blame Grover Norquist and the tea party for that.
    The president campaigned on his plans. They aren't a secret.

    November 13, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. jane

    Ryan better go to work for wisconsin and the nation or else instead of constesting for president in 2016 he will be contesting to get a real job.
    He is spare in wisconsin election this time, if he continue to follow the Tea party or whatever they are call, he should forget about reelction in 2014 talkless of president in 2016.
    Ryan get back to work for the people. the election is over, you are beaten in wisconsin your home town, beaten in michigan Romney hometown, beaten in NH Romney Vacation home state,beaten in MA Romney state where he claimed he was a succeful governor,beaten in CA his other vacation.

    November 13, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. CarolinaGirl

    So Obama is a horrible president? The republican party could not find anyone to run against a horrible president? Hey, maybe you need to quite drinking the Kool Aid!

    November 13, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. doolindalton

    The real shame of it is, Ryan won re-election to the House. Now we are stuck with his bizzaro world ideas about social security and medicare for at least two more years.

    November 13, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I have an ingenius solution that if employed, would guarantee that Democrats would hold on to the White House for the next one hundred years! Really! When you look at the ever changing demographics taking place in red states like Texas and Arizona where the Hispanic-American population is growing rapidly and these states are starting to turn purple, we can turn Texas blue in the next election for example if all the minorities in Arizona were to migrate to Texas. That would turn Texas Bluer than blue. And besides, Arizona don't care for what Hispanic-Americans have to offer anyway. So I say leave Arizona and its SB-1070 in the dust and let's all migrate to Texas. And if minorities were to do so in all the states starting to turn purple, we could turn those states blue overnight and guarantee a Democratic POTUS for the next one hundred years. its that simple!

    November 13, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. AZ Girl

    Not so "shocked" that you didn't continue to run for your Rep seat. Yeah, you were SO positive about the outcome.

    November 13, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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