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. Sniffit

    "Our number one priority is now to punish America for re-electing that one."

    November 13, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    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.
    -----------------------–
    That's the voice of a political hamster, speaking from inside of its' political hamster cage, which the right wing media machine constructed with their hamstrung political ideology.

    It's sad that so many conservatives cannot think outside of the box/cage that the right wing shock media has constructed for its' own personal profit.

    November 13, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Drew

    @freedom Olive does make a few points. The north east as well as the north central and west have a higher capacity of educated people 25+years in age. you can reference using this link
    http://degreecentral.com/level-of-education-comparison-by-state/
    there are other sites out there showing different levels but they all seem to compliment one another. I live in CT and I am a manager in a big engineering firm and I can tell you this, we are hiring alot of people. It's not only my company but many engineering firms are as well. There are 10's of thousands of engineering jobs in the north east alone looking to hire people. Our problem is that we need engineers, but there aren't enough candidates to fill the spots. Many students arn't majoring in engineering these days as, my guess, it is to challenging or takes extensive problem solving skills. There are jobs out there.....infact there are alot of jobs out there. The problem no is, not that there arn't any jobs, but that people lack the skills to qualify themselves to take those jobs..... true story.... google if you dont believe

    November 13, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. David Judd

    "Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally.... A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume. " GEORGE WASHINGTON in Farewell Address...

    He warns against the Spirit of Party... we are all separating ourselves with color... Red and Blue... GOP and Dem... when the matter of the fact lies that this country is divided more so than it ever has been. Stop pointing fingers and blaming it on a party. Face it, we have problems that need to be fixed and frankly, it is more than likely too late. So brace for impact. Help one another instead of belittling each other.

    November 13, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. just sayin

    americans are stupid and fell for obamas campaign of lies and personal smears. when the obama recession begins they will see what they got. only will they blame that on bush too?

    November 13, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Roger

    What solutions? What ideas? The same old trickle down crap we've been hearing for 30 years that has never come to fruition! Good grief, why can't these republicans see the world in reality instead of some long ago Norman Rockwell vision that has ceased to exist. President Obama won decisively so it would be in the best interests of the country for democrats and republicans to work together to solve these pressing issues which we the people elected them to do rather than have idealogues like Ryan continue to hammer away at outdated failed ideas that just don't work. Get with the program Paul or you can probably kiss your house seat goodbye in 2014!

    November 13, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. DENNA

    @ – 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 |
    .........................................................................................................................................................................................
    LOL and he GOP bubble continues to be air tight. 51% voted AGAINST MITTENS.

    November 13, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Keisha

    Republicians tried to surpress the minority vote, claiming they was trying prevent voter id fraud. It backfired and minorities came out in unprecedented numbers in battleground states. Next election I bet they will keep their shut.

    November 13, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. just sayin

    >Lyric1
    >California is a blue state. They now are deep in debt. Just keep me out of it.

    you won't have that option. obama will bail out his bankrupt california democrats, unions and hollywood celebrities. and then on to new york, and illinois for their bailout. after all it is paltry billions compared to what he has already spent. never enough bailouts at the tax payers expense.

    November 13, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. adam

    Bill- According to your logic, no election is legitimate unless 100% of the population vote for a candidate. Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

    November 13, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. oliver

    "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"

    Here is my main question for you. What will you say when you are proven wrong? When unemployment continues to drop, and the national debt increases at a much lower rate then you predict? What do you say about your bold and completely accurate predictions that Obama would "lose in a landslide", or that Sadam had WMD's, or that Bush was the greatest president and on and on and on...

    For a person who is so consistently wrong predicting things, you sure seem to enjoy keeping at it, blindly and making certain everyone listens to you because you are obviously the only person that knows the truth...even when its not true.

    November 13, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. adam

    BJS- "Ryan's a good guy" Thanks. I needed a laugh.

    November 13, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. oliver

    "americans are stupid and fell for obamas campaign of lies and personal smears. when the obama recession begins they will see what they got. only will they blame that on bush too?"

    Just Saying, you are so blind and fueled with inaccurate propaganda, you blame the Bush recession on Obama. The economy is improving, perhaps not quickly enough, but improving nonetheless. This after Bush destroyed it. We have made progress and will continue to do so, despite ignorant people like yourself standing in the way, shouting that the sky is falling. The sky did fall, under Bush. Since then, things have gotten better.

    November 13, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. mfhpr

    Just sayin: Seriously? I sure hope you and the others with closed eyes and minds wake up one day and realize that your ideology is broken and hazardous. Quit whining and become part of the solution. It takes more than a vote to move forward and repair what took years to damage. You're being hypocritical when you say people will blame Bush. You're blaming others for voting for Obama. It works both ways. Did you vote for Bush two times? Educate yourself on the issues and policies and quit siding with the haters...

    November 13, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. David Kuklinski

    Ryan is just the latest in a series of traitors to the right. I now consider him just as bad as Obama. Either we stand as one united against the liberals or we all perish at their hands. I will *never* support Ryan or Romney the quitter again. They handed over a stolen election like whimpering dogs. GOP FOREVER!

    November 13, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Cam Spurgeon

    UGH wish he was not in Congress. The day Romney picked this liar was the day I stopped listening and decided who I was voting for. I am pretty sure Ir wouldn't have changed my vote but I had enough of lyin Ryan on CSPAN. H eis a real jerk.

    November 13, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. James

    I don't understand.. as opposed to what? Cheated the Election?

    November 13, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Secret Service

    "Ryan's a good guy. Obama's a corrupt, socialist "
    You've never met either of them, and you never will. Quit repeating stuff you heard somewhere. We hired Obama to clean up Bush's mess because he was NOT corrupt, and using socialist programs to address specific problems doesn't make someone a "socialist" any more then using bleach to get a spot clean makes them a "bleachist."

    November 13, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Luke Brown

    The GOP lost me at their convention. They seemed to be willing to say anything about Obama regardless of whether it was true. When things in their acceptance speeches were proven to be untrue, R&R still would not admit they were wrong.

    I don't care too much for Obama, but the Republicans really were not interested in giving the voters an honest campaign. I kinda felt insulted.

    November 13, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. daniela

    I am a minority and live in florida and I was not suppressed in any kind of way. I voted with out a problem. I did not have to use Michelle Obama's advice to not to let people push you away from the line...this is what she advised during her Florida visit. ..

    November 13, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. ritmocojo

    GOP,
    Keep listening to the sultans of spin and hate, in the names of Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, Trump, Palin, Ingram, O'Reily et al and you will be guaranteed another derreiere(sp?) kicking come 2016.

    November 13, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. just sayin

    so if we go into another recession because of all the taxes and obamacare, will this be obama's recession? it has to be. it occurred on his watch. they are all saying it is coming. what is obamas plan to avoid it? only 1-2% gdp growth now so not much room for error.

    November 13, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Al

    "Just Saying, you are so blind and fueled with inaccurate propaganda, you blame the Bush recession on Obama."

    Ridiculous. I am so tired of the weakness of our President. He is protected like a child and cannot accept responsabilty for anything. He inherited a bad economy but made it worse and let me tell you this kind of statement is fueling anger and more division. Obama ran as a divider and people do not like him and with this kind of stuff it is only going to get worse.

    November 13, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. rnwthit

    At what point should I not take offense?
    I am a conservative. I live in a conservative community where instead of giving money to social services and waiting for the government to dictate our lives, we instead take it upon ourselves to help a neighbor in need.
    We pay our taxes and do not question why someone who for carried reasons does not work and at the end of the year claims unearned income and child tax credits as a viable resource.
    We listen to people complain that their homes are lost and FEMA isn't there to provide for them.
    I would ask, instead of standing outside your home show the government that you as an American are sufficient.

    November 13, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. blue19

    That fact Ryan says the lose was a surprise is a shining example of how the GOP live in a state of denial: The polls were squewed towards the dems, so they did their own math. The Media is bias so the GOP folks only go on Fox Noise, every problem in the country is Prez Obama's fault cuz he took over when the economy was great. until the GOP starts living in reality and accept the changing world around thm they'll continue to have painful surprises.

    November 13, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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