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. oliver

    Freedom, everything you say is a prediction of things that have not happened yet...but you asure us it will! Give me a break. Where were you when Bush's policies bankrupted the country? A few feet behind him, cheering him on. Until Obama actually destroys the country, sells us to the UN, pulls the gun out of my hand and forces me to gay marry, I'm not going to act like any of those things happened. What I will say is that all of your predictions have been wrong thus far. So get out of the prediction game. How about you look to the ancient past of a few months ago and take a long look at where you have been right or wrong before looking to the future?

    November 13, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Petra asked:

    I am still looking for the hope and change that obama promised four years ago. My situation has gotten worse, unemployed, and my husband lost his is this better?
    It's better because a decade of conservative economic policy caused the entire mess in the first place. As tough as it might be, matters would be far worse if we were to continue those policies.

    Besides, what are you complaining about? Government doesn't create jobs. American innovation and spirit creates jobs. You sound like one of those people looking for "stuff", instead of showing some initiative and responsiblity for the horrible mess that Republican policies have made of your life.

    November 13, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. zephyr2

    I'm sure Ryan knew that he would forever be known as Lyin' Ryan for the stench of mendacity that came out of that mouth.

    November 13, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. marilyn

    DEAN, Obama absolutely would have done the same thing as Ryan and although I'm not a fan of Ryan I do respect what he has said here. Obama would have even been classier if he lost. Stop being a sore loser.

    November 13, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. DMJ

    So Mr. Ryan says his campaign offered "specific solutions and big ideas". I never heard details of a single "specific solution" from the Romney camp. When discussing their tax plan, I believe Mr. Ryan said "It would take me too long to explain". That's not exactly a statement loaded with specifics. I guess he has time to explain the plan now, but I won't hold my breath waiting for him to. As for "big ideas", he seems to have the word "ideas" confused with "ideologies". I heard none of the former and a lot of the latter from his camp.

    I can't say I'm surprised by such mental lapses. Mr. Ryan is the first person I've ever heard of (without Alzheimer's) that can't remember his time to the nearest hour in the only marathon he's ever run.

    November 13, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. V

    "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. . . "

    Republican math at work again. These guys just don't get it!

    You lost because the Country did not want Mitt Romney nor Mr. Ryan in the White House. No specific plans were ever given, a whole bunch of money spent on telling us what the other guy did not do, not what they would do. Allowing the Extreme Right to set the tone. Lying out of their behinds. Need I go on? The truth is, they just might have taken Ohio, but then they did that whole number on the Jeep lie and that was close enough to the elections to bury them.

    Next time, come with some real solutions and facts and stop lying. We're adults and we can handle the truth. To outright lie to voters as they did was an insult and MItt Romney and Paul Ryan will go down in history as two of the biggest liars on earth.

    November 13, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Petra

    Sorry but our situation got worst in the last two years...why should I blame Bush ...Bush is not our current president. My husband did have a business who nobody helped him built which he had to close this year. I am not complaining , I am just stating a fact. Afterall isnt Obama the one who wants to create more government jobs? You must have one of those government jobs that is why you have no problems, i assume. The next four years will determine what kind of president Obama will be...this economy is his. He wants to have the same economy as Clinton did but remember folks Clinton was president during the boom...there will be no boom coming soon. That is how and why Clinton had such a prosperous economy...wonder what kind of economy it would have been without the boom...

    November 13, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. just askin

    >It's better because a decade of conservative economic policy caused the entire mess in the first place.

    exactly what conservative policy caused it? i thought it was the democrats free houses for everybody program?

    November 13, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Secret Service

    "Obama ran as a divider and people do not like him and with this kind of stuff it is only going to get worse." Your threats have been noted, Mr. Oswald.

    November 13, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. jeff

    Rudy NYC- your husband lost his job not because of bush but because your husband was lazy and wanted obama to give you things free food ,cloths,housing... he shold have worked harder like the rest of us.......

    November 13, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    As much as I enjoy the lying hate machine, Fox foreign owned media, it is time for you crazy right wingnuts to realize that they played you for the saps you truly are. Any one who thinks that Mittens and Lyin' Ryan had any plans other than war and tax cuts for the wealthy should demand to get your money back.

    November 13, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. oliver

    Petra, you are a lost cause. Facts disagree with you. For one, government jobs have been lost over the Obama years, while the private sector has grown. Your husband did not build the school he went to, or the roads he used to get to work, or the army that defended his freedom. I could go on, but what's the point? I'm sorry your husband lost his business. Its not Obama's fault. Its not Bush's fault. Pointing fingers won't bring it back. Some businesses fail. Some thrive. What did he do anyway? Own a video rental place? Sorry Petra, not everyone is going to win every time. But the only way to live as an American is to pick yourself up when you fall. Rebuild it yourself.

    November 13, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. mdreader

    First truthful word ever come out of this man's will be the last though.

    November 13, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Some people are complaining that they have been inconvenienced by Obama not fixing the Bush/republican near depression with the 5.3 million jobs in the last 33 months. They should think about the soldiers and their families who lost life or limb in the Bush unnecessary wars.

    November 13, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    @ oliver Your mentality is the exact reason Obama got re-elected. Short-sightedness and instant gratification.

    November 13, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Wilson

    @freedom Olive does make a few points. The north east as well as the north central and west have a higher capacity of educated people 25+years in age. you can reference using this link
    there are other sites out there showing different levels but they all seem to compliment one another. I live in CT and I am a manager in a big engineering firm and I can tell you this, we are hiring alot of people. It's not only my company but many engineering firms are as well. There are 10's of thousands of engineering jobs in the north east alone looking to hire people. Our problem is that we need engineers, but there aren't enough candidates to fill the spots. Many students arn't majoring in engineering these days as, my guess, it is to challenging or takes extensive problem solving skills. There are jobs out there.....infact there are alot of jobs out there. The problem no is, not that there arn't any jobs, but that people lack the skills to qualify themselves to take those jobs..... true story.... google if you dont believe
    Which demonstrates the perfect point that the socialists (there are no longer any liberals), in their eagerness to show how "educated" the blue states are, neglect to mention. All these "educated" socialists have degrees in things as useful a Underwater Basket Weaving. Which is why they may be "educated" but they don't have a job.

    November 13, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. freedom

    @ oliver Your mentality is the exact reason Obama got re-elected. Short-sightedness and instant gratification.

    November 13, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Tina

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have my respect for the gracious manner in which they have accepted the outcome of the election. Now if other Republicans could just put this behind them and move forward rather than digging in their heels like, well, donkeys.

    November 13, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Wilson

    @just sayin

    americans are stupid and fell for obamas campaign of lies and personal smears. when the obama recession begins they will see what they got. only will they blame that on bush too?
    Of course the socialists will, it is never their fault, their policies are perfect! (Please excuse the sarcasm all over your screen).

    November 13, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. C. K. Justus

    I believe the republican should take the increase in taxes on the rich very serious for this is the first time I can remember a man being elected president campaigning on raisiing taxes on anyone.
    Obama did not make any bones about raising taxes on the rich and the people voted to DO JUST THAT WITH AN OVERWHELMING VOTE IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE AND A VERY GOOD VOTE MARGIN IN THE POPULAR VOTE OF MORE THAN 3 MILLION VOTES!! The republicans can deny, cry, grumble, holler, accuse, and any other thing they will try to do to stop the raise in the top rates are in a losing position and they cannot come up with any viable way to say Obama did not win and the people expect it to happen so the republicans should finish eating crow and vote for it!!!

    November 13, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. freedom

    @ V You call Obama's policies real solutions?? Manipulating women, brainwashing the youth, buying votes, smearing one of the most upstanding candidates this country will ever see, forcing regulations down the American people's throats that will debiliate economic growth, seeing our flags being burned around the world while campaiging in Las Vegas? You need a reality check. Actually, the whole country is about to get one.

    November 13, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Oliver

    Short sighted instant gratification eh? I suppose that's why I invested in my own education. Why during the recession, I took a job flipping hamburgers, to pay my bills. Why I never gave up trying, even when I had nothing. Why I never blamed anyone but myself. And why I endured all of that, to make something of myself today. My whole life has been a struggle to get where I am, and I have no intention of sitting back now that I am here. My mentality, as you put it, is stronger, brighter and more expansive then yours. I'm sorry if I leave you behind, crying over your spilled milk, but such is the scenario in a capitalistic world. I will make my own success or die trying.

    November 13, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Oliver

    Wilson, your jokes, while funny are just that, jokes. Nothing you say can change the fact that the unemployment rate for those with a bachelors degree is 3.9%. You want a job? Get an education. Its not rocket science (though that would be a useful degree).

    November 13, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Lisa P


    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
    Dream on. The exit polls showed that the young, the educated, and, yes, the well-to-do, all went for President Obama. I guess part of being uneducated and unskilled is not knowing where your (or anyone else's) best interests lie, or who outsourced that good job with benefits you once had. Only the 1% are disappointed that their power grab failed and all money went to waste - not that they don't have plenty more where that came from; far more than they sensibly know what to do with. There ought to be a tax...

    November 13, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. just sayin

    >Wire Palladin, S.F.
    >Some people are complaining that they have been inconvenienced by Obama not fixing the Bush/republican near depression >with the 5.3 million jobs in the last 33 months.

    but needed over 9 million to stay even with population growth and many more to get unemployed back to work. 5 million when you need 15 million is called failure.

    >They should think about the soldiers and their families who lost life or limb in the Bush unnecessary wars.

    democrats voted for both of them. obama called afghanistan the good war and sent many more to die. obama is to blame for all deaths there since 2009. he could have pulled all of them out but he didn't.

    November 13, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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