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. 1byrd

    Ryan's sense of scale is completely out-of-whack – as is his sense of self-importance. No security force rushing the protestors. No National Guard. Just disgruntled employees objecting to the erasure of collective bargaining. Not quite a "Cairo," now, is it....

    February 17, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. A keen observer

    Did Ryan stop to think that if Governor Walker stopped acting like Mubarak the demonstrations would cease? These republican nut jobs are all alike in the sense that they don't know how to govern. God save American from the republicans!

    February 17, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. lgny

    This story makes little sense and needs expansion.

    Is he saying that the governor should be overthrown just like Mubarak?
    Is he saying that the protests in Egypt where just over finances - with no human rights issues?
    Is he saying that Mubarak should have prevailed over the crowds?
    Is he making any sense at all?

    February 17, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Nancy Langston

    Riots? These have been entirely peaceful protests, constitutionally protected by our right to free speech and assembly. If Ryan cannot respect the citizens of his state, or our right to a voice, he has no right to represent us in Washington. Dr. Langston, a proud public employee.

    February 17, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. BeanerECMO

    The Wisconsin teachers are not getting half of what private sector employees get. Average school teacher salary in WI – $46K. Average private sector salary/wage – $50K. However, teachers do not pay into their retirement fund unless they wish to and they don't pay their medical insurance premiums. Who pays? The non-governmental employees do through their higher taxes.

    February 17, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. mf

    Ryan wants the people to bear the cost to reduce the debt of wisconsin. but when it comes to obama's health care all the republicans oppose it saying the people should not be forced to do what the govt says to do to buy health care. But they should bend and let their pay be deducted because the republicans want to show they cut the deficit. but at who's cost ? the poor and middle class people for whom the democrates and Obama are fighting to help. so america choose whom u want in power the repub or dems

    February 17, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Kathy

    There is no rioting!! There are peaceful protests! What an idiot does not know the difference between the two!! Well he is GOP, so idiot and GOP are redundant.

    February 17, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Doug

    Unions help with pay, often over 10% of non-Union workers. What Walker doing isn't about the budget, it's the Tea Party agenda of trying to kill Unions because they side with with rich (who studies show when the worker don't have Unions, the owners make even more than the 100,000s they already do). I grew up in Wisconsin and this is the saddest thing that has happened there since the bombing on the UW campus during the Vietnam war.

    February 17, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. Colocharis

    "not asking a lot."

    Just their right to organize, about a10%~15% pay cut, and the possibility of any future raises. Oh yeah, and the right to by-pass the legislators to decide the who should be eligible for state assistance programs. It's not a lot. Really. It's not like he is asking for your first borne, yet.

    February 17, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Andrew Knoke

    One thing that the GOP is always careful to avoid mentioning is that they are stripping away Union Rights. They want to paint this out to only be about state employees not paying their fair share. This is not the main point. This is about destroying Unions, first the public employees, then the firemen and police unions, the private sector unions will be soon to follow. Once the Unions are destroyed and you no longer have a right to stand together and negotiate worker rights. Overtime, 40 hour work week, Sick Leave, Legal Holidays, Adequate staffing levels, work related injuries, and countless other issues will be fair game when you have no one to speak for you. Without Unions the bar will be lowered and all workers will suffer regardless if you are in a Union or not. If you think this is about anyone paying their fair share you are NOT paying attention. This is a race to the bottom and we will all lose.

    February 17, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Russ

    I guess when there's no money to pay these "protesters" and they get laid off because they wouldn't at least temporarily take a cut in pay, they will be begging to take the cut and get their jobs back. So be it. There's plenty of people looking for work if these morons don't want to.

    February 17, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Yes, it is like Egypt, and it is also like Greece.

    Washington needs to tread carefully, as the population is very much on edge, with current conditions, joblessness, housing problems, cost of living, energy issues and costs, food prices, and oh.....so much more!

    February 17, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. d-dub

    RIOTS????. You mean like the one Glen Beck had in washington last year

    February 17, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Real Patriots Do MORE than Salute the flag, They educate themselves

    Interesting comparison. How'd that work out in the end for Hosni? Is Ryan really trying to help his boy out or sell him down the river?

    February 17, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. T'sah from Virginia

    [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.]

    What an idiot!! So is he saying "someone" should RESIGN???????????????????? Someone in Wisconsin? Someone in DC?? Should HE resign??? I do not understand his comparison!!!

    February 17, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    How does he know that all private sector employees are paying that much into their health benefits and getting something put into their 401K by their employer. There are many employers that don't force their employees to pay that much into health benefits; many don't match anything workers pay into their 401K plans. Things like this are done via contract and those negoitiations. Both sides need to talk to each other. Often times states don't pay their share into the pension system adding to the problems.

    February 17, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Not even close to an apt comparison. From what I've read, the Cairo protests were about Egyptians demanding more political freedom. The Wisconsin protests were about public employee prima donnas being greedy.

    February 17, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Jack

    Most of us know how to balance a budget and you don't stop buying groceries to pay off the credit card. You cut back on luxury items, look for waste, scale back spending (moderately) across the board. The way these Tea Party people go at this I'd hate have them manage my household budget. They'd have me eating bread and water and dying of malnutrition as they pat themselves on the back for paying off all my debt. There is good debt (as we all know) and bad debt. Debt is not, in and of itself, bad. Simple solutions from simple minded people for complex problems.

    February 17, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Tom

    Typical Republican strategy to bust the unions. What people don't understand is that if that union is busted, then they will be able to pay these individuals what they want. Knock them down to minimum wage and not have any health benefits. Companies want cheap labor and no benefits, that increases their profits. Yes, there are some corrupt people in unions, just like in any organization. The state of Wisconsin negotiated and signed the contract. Nough said!!

    February 17, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Carmelle

    oh, so should you governor step down?

    Interesting comparison coming from a repub. So if they people don't touch my SS and MC...LEAVE IT ALONE. Start by closing tax loopholes and other freebies you give to your special interests instead of attacking the ppl who put you in offcie (the ones who actually voted, not funded you)

    February 17, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. AEK

    Okay, blah, blah, blah! You're and your buddies are attempting, yet again, to bust the unions...old news. Where exactly are the jobs you promised? Maybe a little more time spent on that issue and less running for office.

    February 17, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. wwf

    How about him and the Gov. giving up all of their bennies. But then they will say that is comes with the job. Same as those protesting. Interesting how the Rep. want to have the middle class do all of the paying, but do not want to touch the upper class. Go figure. Nothing changes.

    February 17, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. Beverly - NYC

    These sorts of demonstrations will happen in more red states as the realization dawns on the Tea Party types that their shouts for cuts in spending will affect their bottom line too. Of course the rest of us knew that the Tea party and their sheet wearing ilk only wanted cuts for people who don't look like them. Now the elected officials they swept into office in November are saying plainly if jobs are lost so be it. Gives new meaning to the phrases be carefull what you wish for, and one born every minute.

    February 17, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |

    Dramatically Really? Do they have to pay 12% of HC and about 6% to their pension. It is time we all made sacrafices and stop with the "Not Me" Not Mine" mentality. Or thinks will start to lool like Cairo in this country. Paul Ryan is talking like an adult and as soon as the children grow up and realize that this country is going the way of Greece really fast.

    February 17, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. Lou

    Its only controversial to the state employees. There is nothing controversial over paying half of what the rest of us pay in the private sector especially since state employees salaries have risen so much in the last five years. You ask the unions to pay their share and the media cohorts will distort the real issue or SEIU and others other there threatening people.

    February 17, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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