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. Fair is Fair

    maine liberal

    those making over 250k will continue to get all the bush tax cuts up to that level (even no tax on their first 10k)
    they will pay an additional 4 percent on income above 250k Four Dollars per thousand.
    At 115k they get a 6 percent cut by not having to pay social security ...
    Wrong on many points... but we'll start with the social security one. Fact is, the reason that FICA wages are capped is because FICA benefits are capped. Someone making $10 million a year gets the same FICA benefit as someone making $115K. So unless you're willing to remove the benefit cap and NEVER bring means testing into the equation, what you're basically saying is that you want the wealthy to fund other people's retirement... correct?

    November 13, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. jj

    It was not just about getting voters to the polls. It was the basic inhumane message of the GOP party. How could anyone be surprised by the election results if they were in tune at all with neutral media. Only if they listened to the lies of Faux News, could they possibly be surprised.

    November 13, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Scott Spalding

    All interesting points made by everyone. The US is still center-right and that is illustrated by the Replubicans holding the House; checks & balances with a Democratic Senate. I voted for Romney because he would've made a solid president and nowhere in his agenda would they suddenly start banning abortions nor summarily deporting illegals. In the end, President Obama cares immensely about this country, but we'll have to see if this next four years sees the middle class continue to slide or not. Take a poll and see if your middle class brethren are earning more and paying less for necessities. The answer, for the most part is this: Income down and expenses significantly up. The payroll holiday is going to end and more taxes will be snuck into your paystub whether you know it or not. If that is the case in 4 years then I don't think it matters who is running in either party, it will come down to who will generate jobs, income, and stability. One last comment, I really hope somone does something about the explosive cost to send someone to a 4 year college. I have friends that are untenured professors and they're frustrated with the tenured profs who hide behind "publish or perish" and don't teach student while drawing an immense salary. Nobody wants to do a darn thing about it and at some point it's going to come to an empasse.

    November 13, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. California Gary

    There were many lessons learned in this election......the one that I hope doesn't escape everyone is that elections for state offices matter as much as those for national office. A lot of states put GOP candidates into state offices in 2010 and they did everything they could to rig the 2012 election to favor GOP candidates, from redistricting to outright voter suppression efforts. Something to think about in the 2014 election cycle.

    November 13, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. FactCheck

    "Darn those unskewed polls and the unskewers who were unskewering them."

    November 13, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Odo

    Love how the GOP are now trying to appear reasonable and say that they don't want tax increases, just close loopholes. Guess what....closing loopholes is ALSO a tax increase. I also want to see WHICH loopholes get closed...for many Americans such as myself the ONLY credit we get is the mortgage deduction...I don't want to lose that one especially if the people who chose to have kids can still write THEM off....

    November 13, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. FactCheck

    Have not seen one thing from this president that represents a credible plan for reducing the deficit.

    You mean like tax cuts for the very rich and having the middle class foot the bill? Yeah, it was tried and it got us into the mess we are in.

    November 13, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Lenny Pincus

    Paulie's last gambit was to call Obama a threat to America's Judeo-Christian tradition. That's the campaign he wanted to run? Huge tax cuts with absolutely no specifics? Huge increase in defense spending with no reason? Make all abortions and birth control illegal? These are Paulie's big ideas?

    November 13, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. What the Heck

    It was not only the Obama campaign that got people out to vote it was also the Romney campain and Republicans. The 47% comment, the voter supression efforts, the auto industry comments, womans rights issues; etc. When people feel intimidated and lied to they fight back and how people did that in this case is VOTED ................

    November 13, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. FactCheck

    Why did the Romney campaign think that they could get away with telling half-truths and complete lies, double down on them when proven not to be true and think that they could win an election doing so?

    For the simple reason that the media never called them out on any of it. From being complicit in the WMD lie to their response regarding Saddam and 9/11, the media have let politicians say anything without consequence. When Romney lied about Jeep to China, it wasn't the media who called him out, it was the head of Chrysler.

    November 13, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Brian

    This is the first time that I agree with Mr Ryan. He's a husband and father, and I'm glad he chose to unplug after the election. For all the people who love to criticize Obama for playing golf, folks in high pressure jobs/situations need to clear their heads sometimes. I hope Mr Ryan and his GOP constituents all decide to unplug for a bit, think about what they really support, and hopefully reboot with an agenda that is FOR the best interests of OUR country.

    November 13, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    He's such a nice boy, that Ryan.

    The Republican Party has allowed themselves to be hijacked by the TeaPublicans. In a modern world with near instant communication people saw right through the Romney tax evasions issue, obstruction of the legislative progress, turning back the clock on voter suppression, regressive policy on women's issues, hypocrisy regarding a balanced budget, arrogance with regard to less wealthy, corporate welfare, auto bailout...etc.

    The Republican Party is becoming less relevant every day because they do NOT represent the people. The smoke and mirrors just won't work anymore.

    November 13, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Guest

    Perhaps what will be most telling is that all of the uneducated and unskilled Obama voters will likely be the first to lose their jobs or have further difficulties finding them to begin with. Have fun with that!

    November 13, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. DNC

    "Ryan will take away Granny's retirement check" is one of the things I heard over and over while Obama was winning. Good work, Ryan. Thanks.

    November 13, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. geo

    Ryan is young and eying the 2016 election. Dems will win then too.

    November 13, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. whyme4

    Ryan is to be congratulated for taking his loss like a man. While I would never vote for him, he showed some class in this instance.

    November 13, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. adam

    "This time we need to work" that statement says all you need to know about the GOP. All they cared about in Obama's first term was obstructionism.

    November 13, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. SeaTurtle

    I would like to see Ryan's unedited quote, because saying Obama won "fair and square" sounds like he was trying to imply that there was doubt that Obama did just that. A common tactic by those on the right, popularized by Fox News who frequently use the "some people are saying" line even though they are the only ones saying it.

    November 13, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Shannon Rosenthal

    Paul Ryan couldn't even carry Wisconsin this election. What would make him think that he would be a contender in 2016?! What a joke!!

    November 13, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Mike

    Perhaps now that the election is over, Ryan can finally fill us in on what any of those "specific solutions" might have been?

    Thought not.

    November 13, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. jn122736

    Free Stuff = Votes said: “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!!”---------–

    This is the most oft repeated, post election lie being spread by the sore-loser Republican posters.
    SS and Medicare are, and always have been, fully funded by income taxes paid specifically for that purpose. In addition to the taxes retiree’s have paid all their lives, they also pay a monthly (insurance) fee each month into the Medicare fund.
    And BTW, Reagan reduced the top tax rates from 70% to 38%, and the national debt has subsequently increased from less than $1 trillion to over $16 trillion, producing a $9 trillion payout in interest alone. Yes that means that regardless of the Reagan and Bush/Cheney’s belief that the debt doesn’t matter, more than HALF of the current national debt is due to accrued interest alone. And now Republicans want to further reduce the top tax rate.
    The entire national debt is the direct result the Reaganomics policy of borrowing to pay for those tax cuts.
    Even if President Obama and congress can manage to otherwise balance the budget the for the next four years, the national debt will increase by $2 trillion or more just from added interest alone.

    November 13, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. SafeJourney

    Ryan, the majority of Americans did/does not believe you. That is why you are now known are Lyin Ryan

    November 13, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. adam

    November 13, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm | -I am highly skilled and educated. Try again.

    November 13, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Herbal Tea Party

    Now that Mitch McConnell failed at having the number one goal of making Obama a one term president, maybe the Republican Party can work together with Obama in his second term. I may mean some compromises which will be interesting to see if they can choke down.

    November 13, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. yogi

    "In the end, Obama won with 51% of the vote to Romney's 48%."
    I know it is cynical but if Romney's final number would be 47%, it still is close enough to haunt him for the rest of his life: karma....

    November 13, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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