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. freedom

    @ Oliver Your story doesn't sound like one the Obama admin. is going to honor. The struggle you mention is only going to get worse. Can't understand how you could have voted for him.

    November 13, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    freedom – You really appear to be confused. You will get over it, if you turn off the lying hate machine of the GOP, Fox foreign owned media.

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

    Freedom, just once I'd like to see you post a fact. Not some wild hypothetical about how things are going to bla bla bla. Facts.

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

    Fair and sqaure, except for the fact that CNN and MSNBC were all campaigning for Obama. News with prejudice? Yeah right! CNN your a joke!

    November 13, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. freedom

    @ Wire The real hate is in Obama at podiums and microphones screaming into them for the last four years – at the American people. There's no hate here – just disgust.
    @ Oliver The facts are unfolding before us – it's the reality we're all living in.

    November 13, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Wilson


    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).
    You just blew what little credibility you started with. As most socialists do eventually. By the way, from an earlier post you said you made yourself and worked for your education, but in a still earlier post you said Obama's pell grants helped you. As I said, you have no credibiity left.

    November 13, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. EPUnum1

    Impressive magnanimous character. I'll bet we haven't heard the last of Ryan.

    November 13, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Name Carl

    Nah!!!CNN is the best!

    November 13, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Brenda

    . "But the difference is, this time we need to work." ... Too bad they didn't "work" the first time instead of trying so damn hard to make Obama a one term president.

    November 13, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Fair and sqaure, except for the fact that CNN and MSNBC were all campaigning for Obama. News with prejudice? Yeah right! CNN your a joke!
    You still have Fox and Friends....

    CNN, MSNBC, the majority of the electorate and most of the world abroad rallied for a Republican defeat.

    The Republican Party of bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia and OLD WHITE HATE is an outdated dinosaur facing a second ice age; and its slow horrible death is celebrated both in the US and abroad!!

    November 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. hahaney

    Zenfire – Reality has a well known "Liberal" bias. – Stephen Colbert

    November 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Lisa P


    @ 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
    News flash: you just had a "reality check" and look at you - deluding yourself with even more venom and vehemence than before the election. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for some future "reality check" to magically swing everybody's thinking your way. Human nature does exactly what you're doing - doubles down on wishful thinking. Want the country to go socialist in reality and not just Fox News rhetoric? Keep on hoping for an economic downturn/"reality check." I have no doubt the House Republican caucus is still capable of inciting a revolution, just not the revolution they've been aiming for.

    November 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. FLIndpendent

    Freedom, you sound so bitter in all your posts. Maybe you should go seek "freedom" in another country as you don't appreciate what you have here. President Obama did win fair & square just as Ryan said, however we remember another election (actually two) where George Bush "won" not so fair & square but we accepted it and went on with our lives. There always has to be a loser in an election and maybe if you get out of the Faux News bubble and look at real facts you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that President Obama has done some great things in his 1st term. No president is perfect and Romney would not have been any different in that regard.

    November 13, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Facts don't Lie

    somehow I think that comment by one of their supporters "we won't let factcheckers control our campaign" came back to bite them in the end.

    November 13, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. ghostriter

    Wilson, the unemployment rate of those with a degree is 4%. Those with degree tend to have lower unemployment rates and higher salaries. Regardless of the major.

    Which demonstrates why conservatives are always three steps behind. Having a degree makes your chances at success better. Let me change that, having some sort of secondary education makes your chances waaaaaaay better.

    November 13, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Oliver

    Ok freedom, clearly you don't understand what a fact is. Let me give you a few examples...

    Since the October jobs report, 5,416,000 million jobs have been added since the trough of the recession.
    The DJI has improved from 6,547.05 at the bottom of the recession to 12,788.30 as of today.
    Healthcare legislation has passed which will mean -every- American will have healthcare for now on.
    The war in Iraq officially ended on December 18, 2011, saving estimated trillions of dollars.

    And then on the other side we have you. "Things are going to get worse" "Just wait and see" "Its the reality we are living in"

    November 13, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. CryBabies

    @ Norma Vessels...It seems to me that our President isn't willing to do much compromising. His jobs bill is another spending boondoggle. Thank God the GOP is checking his shopping spree. But if you're a liberal, the more we spend the better, right? Take of the rose colored glasses, Norma. By the way , Obama is the most "transparent" President to ever hold the least 48% of the country can see right through him.

    November 13, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. ghostriter

    Freedom wrote :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.

    Well, I hate to keep saying it, but you seem to be the one(s) brainwashed. You guys just knew Romney would win, even after every poll said otherwise. Conservatives swore that if Obama was elected in 2008, that America would be doomed. Look around. We are still here. And better off than we were 4 years ago.

    No one manipulated, brainwashed or bought anything. You conservatives brought up contraception and rape. You guys brought up getting rid of Pell grants and other forms of helping the poor go to college. Those two alone would have been enough to tip the scales in Obama's favor. The rest of your post is just as moot. You folks residing on Conservative Island will always be behind as long as you are following those nutcases like Rush and Friends.

    November 13, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Oliver

    Wilson, is it such a crazy idea to think that the government may have assisted me along the way in my life? I went to public schools, I use public transportation to and from work and yes, Obama's Pell grant gave me 8k to help pay off my student loans. That doesn't mean I have not had to work for everything I have. It means that in America, people are given opportunities, but they must reach out for them. Earning scholarships is not a handout.

    I am not a socialist. I actually read the likes of Ayn Rand instead of simply quoting her. I believe that capitalism and becoming exceptional is something you must fight for every day. Capitalism is the only system that I will ever believe in. But I'm not so naieve to think that capitalism can exist unchecked. I've read John Locke's state of capitalism, I understand that it must have oversight. I also believe government exists to help people, as it has helped all of us throughout our lives. You can take advantage of the help it has to offer or not. Personally, as long as I am paying 30% in taxes, I am going to get something for my investment. I am going to take advantage of social security when I retire, medicare when I need it, these are systems I have paid into. And if Obama wants to put kids to school instead of into graves in Iraq, I'm all for it.

    November 13, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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