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. Ed FL

    Funny how these Politicos say how good they are and undefeatable.Then the reality sets in and they also run again for their current position.They can make and say all the tales they want but the first premise is they do not have the feeling that they are so great they can not lose .They run for ther old seat while trying to convice voters that they can/will save the country and the world when running for a higher office. They should be barred from running for their present position at the same time.They are taking away others that would be a better politician then one who runs for two positions at one time.

    November 12, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald trump ??????

    If you stop lyin and dump your extrem views that the American people clearly don't want , maybe we might vote for you in four years ??/?on my new invention ,the wacko meter , on a scale of 1 – 10 ,lyin Ryan only gets a 6 bachman the loon gets a 12 ,the blubbering slob Allen west gets a 16 romney gets a 20. And mcconnell gets a 30 for his Obama one term goofball statement and the gop ,we will take the senate !!!!

    November 12, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Jane

    "Foreign experience?" What the heck does THAT mean?

    November 12, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Belleville

    Alas MR. Ryan shows a wee bit of dignity. He can lern and grow instead of retreating into outdated ideals that serve no purpose except to a few. If this sinks in his thick head, he may have hope. Even his own state does'nt like him.

    November 12, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Russ

    Yes he did, but the bigger issue is this. The GOP right wing bible thumpers always rely on God's will for the cause and effect of everything including why you run in the first place. So, now you have to admit it was God's will that you lost because you don't stand for the same things he does.

    November 12, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Free Stuff = Votes

    Of course we got out and voted for the big O. He gives us free stuff and you and your rich pal wanted to take it away. That kind of policy will bring all of us folks that like free stuff out to the polls. You can have my vote next tiime if you can come up with some freebie that is better than free contraceptives and cell phhones!!

    November 12, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. John the Historian

    I guess Ryan can go to purgatory. Even the Catholic bishops called his budget immoral. I wonder where Willard went to. The planet kolob to see rapists Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, Nauvoo, Illinois to await the mormon cult polygamist Jesus Christ, or Jackson County, Missouri to find his Garden of Eden. I sure wonder about the schism in the mormon cult. How many of the 12 prophets Salt Lake City will defect ??? Well since both Brigham and Smith were originally Methodists, they can go there. Wonder what will happen to the closed temples.

    November 12, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. tammyk tammy

    Lack of foreign experience is one of the many reasons why you and Mittens lost the election. Now that's what I'd called SWEET!

    November 12, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. tammyk tammy

    I hope Ryan doesn't think his 'foreign experience' actually counts as real foreign experience in his next election.

    November 12, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Kr55

    Good for him admitting that the GOP actually has to do work now, rather than just sitting on their hands refusing to cooperate trying to keep the country's situation as dismal as possible to increase Mitt's chances to win.

    November 12, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. The Lorax

    "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."

    Really. So, is this admitting that the Republicans didn't WANT it to work before? But now, they have to stop?

    Also, what passes for "compromise" in Congress seems to be "Well, if you want compromise Mr. President, do exactly what we want despite the fact that you got elected on your different platform, and we'll support you. If you continue to adhere to the platform that got you elected, we will oppose you."

    I'm putting words in their mouths, but I'm confident those words reflect the thoughts in the GOP leadership's minds.

    November 12, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    Well, Lying Ryan spoke just a touch of truth there only to revert back to his lies. You're right Ryan, the president's team ran a much better and disciplined campaign than the two of you did and you're also right, that the president won fair and square. However, your return to congress was one of the low points of the night, as you are only back to "stick it to the little people" while you continue to enrich your greedy pockets. IF there is any light at the end of the tunnel, it's that you may have matured some in this process. It is my hope you take that lesson from the campaign trail and dim your arrogance down to a level where you can now work with both parties. Now that you kow what it feels like to be on the losing end, maybe you are open to some compromise but I won't hold out for instant change.

    From a grateful nation thank you for accepting your loss and moving on.

    November 12, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. Bart Flaster

    Get use to it, republicans.

    November 12, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. RogueRobots

    There goes Ryan back on the public dole again, collecting from the big government he hates so much. Much to his chagrin, President Obama has initiated a new work requirement. Shucks, he actually believed the GOP mantra that said everything was gonna be free!

    November 12, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  15. CanOnTo

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

    November 12, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. florida815

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

    Wow. What an admission – in the past 4 years they did nothing and he admits it. Sad.

    November 12, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. Larry L

    LYIN' Ryan needs to think about the loss in terms of personal integrity. He rarely told the complete truth and often told purposeful lies. His budget ideas pandered to the wealthy and did not support the America that voted him out. He looked like another spoiled rich kid trying to sound like common folks. He may be history.

    November 12, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  18. Sharon

    Yes, Paul, they actually had solutions – no one said 'the math is too complicated' or 'trust us, we'll let you know the specifics after the election'. I won't even bother to mention Ann Romney's comments. Joe Biden could be our long winded relative and Obama the professor in the family. They relate to the common American and neither Mitt nor you made that connection. Changes need to be made but must be done wisely and not only affect the middle class and poor. I have stated before that I am willing to pay more in income taxes – if the Bush cuts end, all tax rates go up at least 5% so I will be affected. You need to step up your game and connect to people in your district. It might be a good idea to actually volunteer at a soup kitchen. When I do, I always make certain to bring extra cookies, brownies, what ever dessert is planned and we bring a lot fruit so that kids (of all ages) can have tha second helping and take fruit back to their places for later.

    November 12, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney/Ryan had too many opportunist on their coat tails who were just in it for themselves. Look at Newt Gingrich and Calissa running around the country trying to portray their importance as if to say "I should have been the candidate and I would have won", wrong Newt, the country is done with old stale white men like yourself.

    November 12, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Mike Buck

    Paul Ryan; The numbers you looked at were Faux News propaganda and what a surprise...they lied. I'm really surprised because you are supposed to be the numbers guy for the Theocracy Empire of America (TEA) Party. I hope Obama Care covers post cranial inversion!

    November 12, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. TigersClaw

    Hopefully the tea party types and other extremists that are claiming widespread voter fraud is the reason Obama won will listen to the boy wonder and drop that particular line on insane thinking.

    November 12, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. Ancient Texan

    Romney/Ryan were very good, honorable and honest men that would have made excellent leaders for a troubled nation. They were the victims of a viscious dirty character assassination vandetta by the opposition. Negative ads work.

    November 12, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Michael

    Maybe someday, far in the future the Repugs will have an electable national candidate.

    November 12, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. retroactv

    Ryan's a guy who, if he could move more to center, could stand a chance at the national level.

    November 12, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. jack878

    With all the lies Obama told not sure about the fair part.

    November 12, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
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