Ryan equates Wisconsin protests to Egypt
February 17th, 2011
10:14 AM ET
12 years ago

Ryan equates Wisconsin protests to Egypt

Washington (CNN) - Republican Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan compared the protests in his state's capital to those in Egypt that led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"He's (Gov. Scott Walker) getting riots, it's like Cairo's moved to Madison these days," Ryan said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Thousands protested in the capital city Tuesday and Wednesday over a bill that would strip Wisconsin public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and have them pay dramatically more for benefits.

Walker said he is dealing with a budget crisis, which includes a $137 million shortfall, and Ryan supported the newly elected Republican governor, saying he's "not asking a lot."

"He's basically saying I want you public workers to pay half of what our private sector counter parts are, and he's getting riots," Ryan said. "People should be able to express their way, but we've got to get this deficit and debt under control in Madison if we want to have a good business climate and job creation in Wisconsin."

According to Walker's press secretary, Cullen Werwie, the controversial legislation is expected to reach the state Senate on Thursday and, possibly, the Assembly (lower chamber) on Friday.

- CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this report

Filed under: Paul Ryan • Wisconsin
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Indie Woman in Denver

    Isn't that a coincidence. Michael Moore tweeted the very same thing, only his take on it is, of course, WAY different. Watch out, congressman, or you'll be getting riots, too.

    February 17, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Yes, resent government employees for getting a decent deal on the employment contract, not your boss/owner for screwing you on yours. And, by the way, don't pay any attention whatsoever to the purposeful union-busting in an effort to pare back employee and labor rights, show favoritism to certain types of government employees and infringe on peoples' rights to assemble, etc...no no no...focus only on your resentment towards the wrong group of people. Let the hate flow through you....

    February 17, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Trey

    I am glad the people of Wisconsin I say get out in 2012 and vote the "Jerks" out of office, including the "Nut Case" Paul Ryan, they care about no-one but big business and the wealthy!

    February 17, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    So the rich have gotten their tax cut and now it's time to stick it to the wage-slaves (again).

    February 17, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Jason

    The issue is not totally the issue of paying more. Snuck into the bill is the eliminating of state union's bargaining power for anything but basic pay. The republicans are making this about money but a significant part of it is an anti-union sentiment. As the unions have expressed, cutting jobs and straight pay is one thing. They acknowledge the need to tighten the belt when needed. The issue is how much control a collective group of workers, who have been fighting for generations, will have over the industry they are actively invested in. Riding the wave of tea party sentiment Ryan will be able to disenfranchise everyone but the rich in the name of "small government"

    February 17, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. WIL in the VA.

    He calls basic rights to assemble and protest RIOTING what an joke

    February 17, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sorry Ryan, but faulting those who have EARNED their income and stripping them of what they now enjoy smacks of the very thing you GOPers spend year after year ranting against: dictatorship. Dividing America into the haves and shouldn't haves smacks of dictatorship. Expecting me or any other American to side with the philosophical idea that removing folks from their income is good budget ideology won't fly. Perhaps you, Ryan, and all your GOPer cohorts can explain where you think you get the power to dictate to Americans who has or hasn't the right to hold jobs here in American?

    February 17, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Dan

    Ryan, you're an idiot!

    February 17, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Walker took the surplus left to him and gave it to corporations, creating a deficit. In order to make up for his fiscal irresponsibility, he went after the employees who have already sacrificed for the state with pay cuts and retirement benefit decreases. Then he decided that public employees should no longer have bargaining rights. Ohio and our own state of Florida have also elected anti worker governors, and unlike Wisconsin, we cannot recall them.

    February 17, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. NVa Native

    It's simialr in that working class Americans like the Egyptians don't want their jobs, homes, and families to be sacrificed so that the wealthy and powerful top 2% can get a tax break and maintain their control over our government.
    If Ryan can see this why does he and all of the Repub politicians continue to support corporate interests that negatively effect the lives and interests of all American citizens, instead of supporting the interests of American citizens?
    Destroying the EPA so corporations can pollute and destroy our air, water, and environment without anyone being able to stop them? Destroy the FDA so corporations can sell tainted meat & contaiminated food – agian? Allow corporations to basically buy ellections with the profit they make from American (and foreign) people ?
    Why Mr. Ryan?

    February 17, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Rsprings

    I live in California where the State is nearly bankrupt with a $29 Billion budget deficit. The Public employee unions are overpaid. over benefitted and their workers are by and large ineffective. Going to a State agency is a joke, it takes weeks and months to get anything done. No one can be fired for good reason..it is a joke. Hang in there Gov. Walker. Pass this bill. Give their employers...the citizens of the state more control.

    February 17, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Dyanisme

    So Ryan thinks that what is happening in Wisconsin is equlivant to what happened in Egypt. I never thought of Gov Walker as a dictator who opresses his citizens, abuses power and tortures prisoners..... but hey, if that's what Ryan and other GOPer's think, who am I to argue with them?

    February 17, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. kirstenliv

    The only reason we have a budget crisis is because Walker pushed a 140 million dollar special interest bill through last month. He is going to ruin our state. This is why more people need to vote. I am not so proud to be from Wisconsin right now.

    February 17, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. SeattleMark

    What the good Gov. is doing is very like what happened in Egypt, that is to say he wants to control the system by which the people elect their leaders, and by weakening unions he will weaken their voice in future elections. This thing has Rove written all over it.

    February 17, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. Chedar

    Here's one for you Ryan. Go for it.

    February 17, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    I take it Mr. Ryan does not seem to understand that Gov. Walker is Mubarek in this scenario? People are scared because benefits they have spent a lifetime building up are being chipped away by people who turn around and give tax breaks to millionaires. He's lucky they are being civil about this.

    February 17, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. John

    Well, I guess Ryan is right - the Republicans are behaving like autocrats, and the people in Wisconsin are resisting them in the streets.

    February 17, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. JMR49

    BS – the attempt to destroy collective bargain rights has NOTHING to do with the WI budget. This is part of modern republican political agenda. If the state was flush with cash, they'd still be doing this. Destruction of the american middle class is the ulitmate goal, obvious to anyone who's actually paying attention.

    February 17, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Realistic

    First, lets get real about what the republicans are doing. Destroy the labor movement because they, the labor movement supports most of the time democrats. So if you take down unions you take a part of the democrat support base and honestly, we all know republicans hate labor unions and labor laws, you know, regulations. You know work OT and get paid for the work you do. Workers safety and basically OSHA are on republicans radar to tak down or weaken to the point where they become irrelevant. Thats why the speaker said" So be it", its all caluculated and part of the bigger agenda..

    February 17, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. sbg

    Here's a thought. We pay full expenses for public employees and tax the difference back to zero sum. They can choose to live like the bulk of us or we decide that for them.

    February 17, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Tad Pole

    Reality check needed?

    February 17, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Buckthorn

    Ryan is a jerk, and he's purposely twisting the truth. "I want you public workers to pay half of what our private sector counter parts are". The fact is (anyone remember what facts are?) that if you take into account the *entire* compensation package, and not just fringe benefits, Wisconsin employees are payed roughly 5% points *less* than private sector employees. Public employees have historically traded lower wages for larger benefits. So it's patently untrue and unfair to compare just one side of the equation. Ryan just thinks that he's smarter than everyone else, and that he can simply get away with his distorted presentation of reality. I challenge and dare Mr. Ryan to address this in an honest, straightforward way. Of course, he never will - he doesn't have the guts.

    February 17, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Alistair

    Good for the people of Wisconsin. We need this since the Governor wants to act like Middle East dictator.

    February 17, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I visited the GM plant in Janesville once, and now I am wondering how anti job anti worker Ryan ever got elected there.

    February 17, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. a in austin

    I've not seen any riots...funny, how the corporations are not being touched. Again, Main Street is being victimized to carry the brunt of all the cuts. I support you People of Wisconsin. You are just the beginning – the other red states will be trying the same thing. TIME TO UNITE! What will be next – I see Missouri is voting to eliminate child labor laws!

    February 17, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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