November 12th, 2012
06:42 PM ET
9 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. maf

    Openly admitting that he didn't need to work during President Obama's first term – based on WHAT???
    They didn't have to work because of their pledge to obstruct, negate and hinder the progress made by the President.
    Absolutely pathetic. Well, 2014 is just around the corner and McConnell and Boehner are the first ones to go!!
    Here's hoping the Democrats can find some exceptional candidates to run against the high ranking Repubs so that the reality is more Dems in the House!

    November 12, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Name nancy

    I like him better now

    November 12, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Slightly Left of Center

    How many times do we have to say it? IT IS NOT A TAX INCREASE ON THE WEALTHY!! It is the expiration of a tax cut – one that was scheduled to expire how long ago??? Ever cut out a coupon to save a $1 on something? Guess get to use it once, and when it expires, IT EXPIRES.

    November 12, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. jerseylou

    Sir,the only thing that is Foreign is you!

    November 12, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. kica

    Soooooo citing the last paragraph, is he saying the first time WE elected Obama, congress didn't need to work the president????

    November 12, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. Expat American

    A humble moment that was as unexpected as it is believable. Ryan needs to be lost his seat in the next cycle. But I hope he runs for President on a purely Conservative Ticket – a sure bet on yet another Democratic victory.

    November 12, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. ohreally

    What really bothers me. Is suddenly the GOP wants to work together. If they had this approach four years ago. Think where we would be today.

    November 12, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Jorge UU Boosh

    I LOVED watching Mitt concede and the few hundred supporters left in the hall crying!!!

    November 12, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. Akira

    Sorry, Ryan...the better team won.

    November 12, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. jerseylou

    Incredible,and to think millons of people follow this idiot !

    November 12, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. banasy©

    Okay, gracious of Ryan to admit defeat, as foreign as it is to him.
    Now get to work, Congress!

    November 12, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. sbkilb

    Yes the Democrats won "fair and square",while you and Romney were all over the country spewing lies.I am so proud of "we the people" the Majority of Americans who saw through your lies,hate and made up stories.Maybe you shouldn't be so brash the next time you talk to the President, the people our not on your side.How did you and Romney think right up to election day that you would win? I know faux news and Karl Rove and Rush said so.They will be history just as you and Romney are,we will remember your lies in 4 yrs if you think about running again.I'd say the Republican party won't want anything to do with you

    November 12, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. flight_risk

    Now Ryan won't have to worry about "not dodging the tough questions". Oh, wait – he DID dodge every tough questions.

    November 12, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. flatbushfred

    Yes, Paul, he did do a better job of getting the voters to the polls. But that's not why he won. He won because the voters rejected your view of America. You and the Tea Party and the various candidates for Senate, House and state legislatures, lost big time. That's not about getting out the vote. That's about understanding that your brand of conservatism is not right for America.

    November 12, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    This idiot needs to shut up. Idiot. Lies, lies, lies. No brain idiot. It is better for him to shut up with enough humiliation.

    November 12, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. John

    Has any Republican ever explained why they will go "to the wall" to protect the rich in this country, despite the following

    ....286% reduction in maximus federal tax rates over the last 60 years?
    ....................91% in 1955
    ....................75% in 1965
    ....................50% in 1985
    ....................39.6% in 1995
    ....................35% in 2005
    While the rich got richer, the middle class was left paying the bill for the windfall for the rich........

    November 12, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. Donkey Party

    Ryan still wants to lie, even after the landslide loss, and say he and Romney had "specific solutions"??? They lost in part because the hid from the press, and when they were interviewed, they offered no plan, certainly no solutions, just the same old tried and failed trickle-down crap that has hurt the country for a decade and more. Smart Americans made the smart choice, and the low-info, low-intelligence right wingers made their poor choice.

    November 12, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Democrats didn't win because we did a better job of getting folks to the polls (although we did do a good job of that); we won because enough Americans have accepted the reality that all of the GOP's economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES and Mittens 'n' Munster we not offering anything new.

    BTW, Munster said they "ran the kind of race we wanted to run" and campaigned on "specific solutions and big ideas." I would argue – and everyone from the "New York Times" to Fox would agree – that the Mittens 'n' Munster campaign was filled with lies, distortion and math that simply did not add up.

    If this is Munster's idea of success ... well, that's just pathetic!

    November 12, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Norma Vessels

    Yes, you, Mr. Ryan, and your Republican friends in Congress, need to get to work. You've had four years to help
    our President, and you haven't yet. Stop messing around, and get something constructive done .. and I don't
    mean cutting Social Security (which we, the people pay into every month) and Medicare (which all retirees
    pay into every month.) And, I don't mean, do it your way or no way. President Obama is the President of the
    United States, highest office in the land. Do what he wants .. get us moving in the right direction. You're always calling for change .. well, do it!

    November 12, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. RogueRobots

    Dear President Obama: the voters have spoken by electing you and increasing representation in both the Senate and the House. Put an end to gerrymandering and voter suppression which the Repubs use to maintain their hold on the House. Stay strong on requiring that the 2% pay their fair share. If they continue to obstruct our government, call them out on the public carpet for the thrashing they deserve. Do not compromise on the values for which we re-elected you.

    November 12, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Munster admits President Obama – and his policies – won fair and square.

    Will Munster now work WITH the President in handling our nation's fiscal problems, or will he stick with his failed policies and try to drive out country over the fiscal cliff?

    November 12, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. tammyk tammy

    The Majority of Americans did not buy the pile of crap pushed by Romney/Ryan, therefore it is time that the GOP stops peddling it! Yes Mr. Ryan, it is way past time that the GOP members of the House actually do some work, if they can remember how.

    November 12, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Jason

    I am not a fan of Ryan as I believe he places a greater emphasis on social than conservative issues. That being said I am very happy to hear he is not running around yelling the sky is falling like some loony toons. (Trump) It's long past time to get some work done. Democrats needs to realize some programs are going to be cut or eliminated. Republicans need to be willing get tax rates where they were in the Clinton era for the richest among us. The crazies on the right and left need to take a big cold sip of shut the hell up and let things move forward.

    November 12, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    lyin ryan deserved to lose. lying is a sin by the way!

    November 12, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. marty

    We shall see how Mr Ryan 'works' with our President very soon. The people did not vote for a divided government, they voted for persons they thought would honor the oath of office and compromise on issues which benefit all Americans, not just a few.

    November 12, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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