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. whitepine

    We have a boat load of problems to solve. It's time we write our Congressmen to work for their paycheck. We spent all the money to get them elected, you'd think there would be at least the same amount of money to keep people alive with health care. We have thousands of people trying to rebuild their lives in NJ and other coastal regions. Let's show the world we can unite and rebuild this nation. Did Ryan visit NJ and give Christy a hand? Those muscles could be used to clear the debris in NJ.

    November 13, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. DENNA

    @ – Ancient Texan – There are lots of comments here about "the GOP is finished", but if in 4 years the economy isn't booming, the unemployment rate isn't much lower, and even more folks are on welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, and dependent of government, the Socialist/Progressive party will be "finished"
    ..............................................................................................................................................................................
    I see you have your Christmas Wish List going. What if the economy improves and people are happier? LOL I've been watching Fox News since election night. My goodness, where do they find all of those bitter anchor people? I did enjoy Karl Rove's "denial dance" when the president won reelection. Somebody's Super PAC really wasted their money. Even the GOP darling Sarah Palin donated from Sarah PAC. I love it that she wasted some of her ill-gotten gains on her fellow co-conspirators.

    November 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Dean

    Ryan is a class act. You wouldn't have heard this from Obama had he not won. He would have blamed everyone but himself, and said that Americans selected Romney out of fear. Ryan 2016.

    November 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Jackson

    Specific solutions???? HAHAHAHAHAHAH

    Romney ***guaranteed*** 12 million new jobs, but never once told us his plans.

    Romney could never explain how he could cut the taxes he wanted to cut and still balance the budget. He said he would talk about what was going to be cut ***after*** the election.

    Exactly what solutions did they genuinely offer????

    ZERO.

    And you wonder why you lost.

    November 13, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. lucky18

    "Campaigned on specific solutions and big ideas"...I beg to differ.
    THEY HAD NO SOLUTIONS THAT THEY SHARED AND WHAT BIG IDEAS?
    Smoke and mirrors. If they had some ideas they put no numbers behind them to prove that they were right!
    Yup, they lost fair and square!!!

    November 13, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Kris

    “They won the election fair and square”? LOL Do ya think? It is only a shock because the GOP is Delusional. They bought their own snake oil and as usual totally disregarded reality. After all this is a party that refutes science so I don’t know why it surprises me that they could not read the same writing on the walls that everyone else except FOX & Friends were saying.

    November 13, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. oliver

    Al, can you explain to me how adding almost 5 million jobs made it worse? How unemployment falling from over 10% to around 8% is worse? How ending a useless and costly war made it worse? Listen, I'm not silly enough to suggest that I am the model story for America. But i know directly after the Bush recession, I lost my job and spent two years under and unemployed. Then suddenly the market seemed to change. I now make more then I ever have. I have health insurance, that i never had before. I have a nice apartment instead of my rat infested ghetto. My student loan payments have gone down, and Obama's Pell Grant program helped pay off over 8 thousand dollars of my loan debt over night. The economy is improving and I am living proof.

    November 13, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. EGB2

    I'm pleasantly surprised by the gracious comments, and am hopeful other congressmen reach across the aisle to solve these many fiscal problems.

    November 13, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. ohgran

    I hope Ryan included a visit with his parish priest to confess all the lies he told and we witnessed. A lie is still a sin and Catholics still have to confess to committing them. No free pass in politics.

    November 13, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. JustAO

    ...they "ran the kind of race we wanted to run" and campaigned on "specific solutions and big ideas."

    I didn't know that alienating yourself from practically every demographic and spouting off at the mouth about living in a socialist country under Obama were specific solutions and big ideas American's in the year 2012 wanted to hear. Keep living in that 1950s bubble so you can keep losing elections generation after generation.

    November 13, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Cogsboy

    "specific solutions and big ideas.". ???.. that's the reason the GOP lost!! They had neither.

    The presidential and vice-presidential candidates MUST, I repeat MUST, win their own states before they can try to win other states. Why run for president if the place you grew up or governed won't support you?

    November 13, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. rlj

    Never mind the policies that don't work, it's the GOP's sleazy innuendo that turned me off. And they are still at it, bless them – I saw Graham talking about the Petraeus affair and continuing to spin innuendo out of thin air in a way that no honest man can do with a straight face.

    November 13, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. The Prophet

    there is no second term here start backing your bags and pick palace to live, there is still room in Chappaqua

    November 13, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. leftywriteagain

    Other repubs should follow Ryan's and stop blaming. I applaud him.

    November 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. oliver

    "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."

    Yes. -If- we go into another recession, then clearly Obama's policies will have failed. That's a big If though. You love to say things like "everyone is say..." but not everyone is saying. Fox News is saying. As an educated and reasonable democrat, I am completely willing to accept truth when I am wrong. But when you make wild predictions based on biased and inaccurate opinion, why should we listen? Until you own the fact that Bush was a top five worst president (and you probably voted for him twice), that republicans were wrong about the way to grow the economy then, why should we listen to you now? Especially when the GOP is using all the same policies from the Bush years as a model going forward? Face it, Bush was great for 1% of Americans. Obama is trying to help all Americans. Obama may fail, he may succeed and more then likely will have variations of both. But I'm not going to base my opinion on the arguments of GOPers who were proven wrong and pretend they were right. Or on people on CNN forums who were 100% certain Romney would win in a landslide, who are still on here making predictions. Nate Silver you are not.

    November 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Larry

    @ Dean How could you possibly know what President Obama would or would not have done if he had lost the 2012 election? Do you have a crystal ball that sees future possibilities? Is that how you know or is it wishful thinking?

    November 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. tstorm92

    It's obvious the Repbulicans were trying to play "tail wagging the dog". If they got the public to think Romney was winning, then just by enthusiasm alone the GOP hoped people would want to vote for the presumed "winner", Romney. Only trouble is the GOP gets its polling from Fox News. And there has never been a more politicaly right-leaning, innacurate news source than Fox News. Maybe next time Republicans will listen to the voters rathern than Sean Hannity or Karl Rowe!

    November 13, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Specific solutions???? HAHAHAHAHAHAH"

    Indeed. I've left more specifics behind in portapotties than these two Teatroll puppets provided in their campaign.

    November 13, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Time to feed the political hamsters. The American People will receive another Nobel Peace Prize for not electing a Republican, and Pres. Barack Obama will once again be chosen to go pick it up for us.

    November 13, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Petra

    I am still looking for the hope and change that obama promised four years ago. My situation has gotten worse, unemployed, and my husband lost his business...how is this better? Obama is the one who lives in the bubble. I did not vote for either one of these candidates as for me no one has helped me or others that I know. Many people I have know have lost their homes during OBama the banks refused to help them...hope and change a much of crap!

    November 13, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. freedom

    @ Drew – you are not taking into account the effects of Obamacare once it kicks in. Most full-time employees will be cut to parttime so the companies won't have to pay millions more to insure them. Engineers will always be in demand – that doesn't address the corrupt policies of the Obama administration and the havoc they're going to wreak.

    November 13, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Wake up People!

    @Denna. I too started watching Faux Noise on election night and I have to say some of their hosts are HILARIOUS. IMO, the funniest thing on tv is the first 8 seasons of Two and a Half Men, but Fox News is running a very close second. I laughed at Karl Rove for HOURS.

    Anyone that thinks Fox News is fair and balanced is obviously UNBALANCED.

    November 13, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. freedom

    @ Oliver It is obvious you don't live in an area with a high percentage of Hispanics. They are a huge part of the workforce – especially in the hospitality and restaurant industries. These industries will find it very hard to pay the Obamacare mandate once it's enforced. This is why they will lose their jobs – not because of their education level.

    November 13, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. just sayin

    >DENNA
    >What if the economy improves and people are happier?

    seen the movie already played out in greece and spain. happy people don't riot in the streets. can hardly wait until the gravy train reaches the end of the road in the usa to see how people survive.

    November 13, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. God

    @ – Ancient Texan – There are lots of comments here about "the GOP is finished", but if in 4 years the economy isn't booming, the unemployment rate isn't much lower, and even more folks are on welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, and dependent of government, the Socialist/Progressive party will be "finished"
    -------------------------------------------------
    If you used facts, which repubs hate, you'll see that the states most dependent on government voted mostly in favor of romney. the top 33 state for needing government help, 3 voted for obama. (I might be wrong but you should go research what I'm saying) and for the states 34-50 i think two voted for romney. SO keep calling the democrats the takers but when you get facts involved it's actually the democratic states that give the most back. Blast stupid facts trying to burst this bubble fox news has created.
    Papa Johns came out and said he will not provide his employees with healthcare. IT would cost a company that has a 44.5 million annual profit 4 million dollars. The owner presumably papa john has a mansion with a 22 car garage on like 40 acres. Yet he is unwilling to provide his delivery drivers and managers and hard working employees which allow him to have that mansion (people whom clearly are not rich like him) with some sort of healthcare so when something happens they dont go broke. Now you tell me why the repub party shouldn't be finished?

    November 13, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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