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. NFL

    Sorry, but the GOP only held the House because of the redistricting that took place to make the districts more GOP safe. Even here in Central NY, we now only are represented by GOP folks with the lines of the district looking like silly string vs. allowing the natural blue centers be Dem represented, and the natural red centers have GOP representing!

    November 13, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. DW

    Guest
    Perhaps what will be most telling is that all of the uneducated and unskilled Obama voters will likely be the first to lose their jobs or have further difficulties finding them to begin with. Have fun with that!

    In my opinion there is an arrogance about you that just really smells. You must be Mittens or a relative, lashing out because he lost. Get over it. The country decided.

    November 13, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. adam

    The idea that those who voted for Obama want a free ride is laughable. Red states contribute far less to social services than blue states do. Basically, blue states disproportionately support red states. But never let the truth get in the way of a good GOP lie.

    November 13, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. freedom

    @ Nick, etc. The GOP is not losing – the country is losing. The tax codes are astronomical in the blue states which explains the taxes they pay – why they voted for this admin that will impose more taxes is beyond me. Also, many of the red states have retired military, which have tax codes that exempt them, and states with Military bases also figure in. Red states incidentally have the fiscal environment that promotes business growth, which in turn contributes substantially to the taxes paid in this country. And regarding the states that receive the most federal assistance is largely based on population, and is reflected also by the ratio of assistance vs income tax paid per individual. The bottom line is, why would anyone vote to increase anyone's taxes – and especially in this economic environment?

    November 13, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. d

    "and campaigned on "specific solutions and big ideas.""

    Seems like he should've shared those specific solutions with the rest of us. Oh well.

    November 13, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. roscoe00

    Well, we know the 47% certainly voted for Obama, add to that some Women and Latinos and we get to a big win for Obama. The motivating factor must have been handouts because it certainly couldn't have been jobs unless everyone wants to work at a union shop.

    November 13, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. jo2

    It's amazing , Republicans still don't understand why they lost the election. I hope they stay in the "bubble", we can clean the house in 2014 and let the President do some real work for this country,

    November 13, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. oliver

    "Perhaps what will be most telling is that all of the uneducated and unskilled Obama voters will likely be the first to lose their jobs or have further difficulties finding them to begin with. Have fun with that!"

    So much ignorance. You do know that liberals on the whole are more highly educated? College professors are almost 10 times more likely to be liberal. A majority of the Tea party never went to college. Statistics also show that whether you have a job or not depends less on if you are red or blue then the state of your education. The unemployment rate for college grads is around 3%. And Santorum thinks its just for snobs.

    November 13, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Bill

    Hey DW, the country did not decide. Half the country did. 49% of the electorate voted AGAINST Obama.

    November 13, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. ghost1959

    The tax code needs fixed...Period and income is income regardless of where it comes from. I live in PA and we absolutely need to fix our property tax issue. It should be done away with and replace by a combination of taxes that don't include the value of your property. We didn't buy a house because the property taxes where high in that location.

    November 13, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. philojazz

    Hey, you didn't print this quote from Paul Ryan..."I kind of still wish I hadn't LIED about my marathon time, though!"

    November 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    I don't know why Jindal was so anxious to be Romney's running mate. If THAT was his cocern in September when there's a giant sinkhole in the middle of our state, if America going down, then it's taking Louisiana down with iy.

    November 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Secret Service

    "Herbal Tea Party" More like "bath salts" IMHO.

    November 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. freedom

    @ Oliver Pompousness in all its glory. And you are wrong about jobs. College graduates can't find one. And the irony of the Hispanic vote is that they will be the first to lose their jobs. Then they will be fined for not having health insurance and they will move back to Mexico where their lives will be better (another irony). Their vote for Obama just self-deported them. They voted for the wrong party.

    November 13, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Secret Service

    " The motivating factor must have been handouts because it certainly couldn't have been jobs" I know you are just trying to be "funny," but too many of the clowns and stooges who follow your party actually believe this kind of childish fairytale. Time to face reality, mister nasty.

    November 13, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. yogi

    GOP, it comes down to this, the people have spoken: They care, and you don't.

    November 13, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Stammer

    I'll give Ryan credit for one thing – he can state the obvious and make it sound "gracious"!

    November 13, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. lolo

    The Gop Problem, they think they do not have a problem. They are sore losers and can't comprehend that it is their own dirty tricks that they tried to use against President Obama and the true Americans is why they lost. They are so out of touch.They have disrespected this president since he was elected in 2008. Don't hate the player hate the game. Now all of a sudden they want to try to reach across the aisle. They may fool their base as usual but the rest of us are not buying it. In 2014 we are cleaning house also, so they better tell their tea party klan to change their tune and quick, because we are watching them. These fools forgot that due to technology anything they say or do will come to the light quickly.

    November 13, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Lyric1

    California is a blue state. They now are deep in debt. They plan to raise taxes on the richer people in their state which will not begin to make a dent in the financial problems. It will however cause more of these people and companies to move from California to more economically friendly states. This isn't the first time that California has pushed companies and wealthy citizens out of their state. Now they have more welfare, less tax base and alot of problems paying for basics like fire protection, police protection and schools. By all means let them keep voting for democrats. Just keep me out of it. I don't like supporting Octomom. And don't say that is an exception because I know many people living in my state that still recieve welfare benefits from California while working at good jobs here. They are raking in and paying very little. This is where our nation is headed if the Democrats don't get a reality check.

    November 13, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Mike

    President Obama has received a mandate to continue the change that was set in progress during his first term. Assuming he can get some cooperation from the Republican controlled house, I suspect President Obama will leave a lasting legacy and be recognized as one of the greatest US Presidents.

    November 13, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Amobius

    lol "specific solutions". What a crock!

    November 13, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. oliver

    "@ Oliver Pompousness in all its glory. And you are wrong about jobs. College graduates can't find one. And the irony of the Hispanic vote is that they will be the first to lose their jobs. Then they will be fined for not having health insurance and they will move back to Mexico where their lives will be better (another irony). Their vote for Obama just self-deported them. They voted for the wrong party."

    On the one hand I am looking at stats, bar graphs, etc neatly put together by google suggesting I am right. On the other there is you, spouting "facts" you heard somewhere during the campaign on fox news. Its true recent college grads have had a harder time finding work during the recession, but on the whole people with a bachelors degree find work. If hispanics lose jobs, it will be because they don't have an education.

    November 13, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. Travis

    @ philojazz
    "Hey, you didn't print this quote from Paul Ryan..."I kind of still wish I hadn't LIED about my marathon time, though!""

    It was probably not quoted, because a marathon run time that happened 20 plus years ago, has no relevance on someone who campaigned to be Vice-President.

    November 13, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Mia

    It's good that Paul Ryan came out and acknowledged the win in a positive manner, and nothing bitter in his comments. Now let's get the job done collectively and quit the silly bickering. Everyone needs to quite whining and blaming, and just pull up their shirt sleeves and make it all work!

    November 13, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. JS

    Ryan's a good guy. Obama's a corrupt, socialist that will lead US to 20% unemployment and a $20 trillion deficit. Way to go America- a nation filled with brainless people

    November 13, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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