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. masse

    Ryan, you lost because of your extreme agenda. 4 more years for BO.

    November 12, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  2. Ideas, Ideals, and not ideologies

    I'll call it the way I see it. The GOP should start an investigation and leave no rock unturned. They must look at the GOP leaning pollsters in the media, the private polling firms that the candidates hired, as well as the "pundits" that were pontificating across the cable networks. They must avoid such embarrassment in the future.
    I am not to talk about conspiracy theories but this one looks like a massive conspiracy. This is what I mean by that. With talk of a $ 1 billion campaigns and unlimited amount of money flowing into this election there are all types PACs and election related businesses cropping up all around and those crooked individuals figured it out quick that if they tell the rich GOP financiers what they want to hear the money will keep flowing. And that's the plain truth. Most of these people such as Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich only had financial interests in this whole affair. They are richer today than they were 1 year ago while the billionaires who financed this debacle must be looking at themselves in the mirror and realized that they have "suckers" tattooed on their foreheads.

    November 12, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  3. Jim in Georgia

    Sounds like nothing has changed... NPR was saying that people tend to listen to people who agree with them. Congressman Ryan needs to listen to someone other than rich people about taxes.

    November 12, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. Austin

    Could've interviewed him in a room other than a closet.

    November 12, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. anonoymous

    What a refreshing take...I hope he means it and doesnt join John McCain's bitter loser club.

    November 12, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  6. Workers Unite

    yes, well remember alls fair in lov and politics so it was "Fair and square"

    November 12, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. Vader

    Reasonable assessment of the outcome. Wish some of the Repub brethren could show the same grace.

    November 12, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. CarolinaMike

    Ryan might not want Rush Limbaugh to hear him use the words "fair" and "Obama" in the same sentence lest he become a villain as did Gov. Christie simply for making a positive comment about the President. Based on their behavior, the GOP's main mantra related to talking points is to always speak of Obama in negative terms. During the past 4 years it's been a cardinal sin for a Republican to speak favorably about Obama.

    November 12, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  9. ATLmatt

    Paul Ryan is a complete moron

    November 12, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. WhereIsPalin

    How many ways can you say blah-blah?

    November 12, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. Jim

    Mr, Ryan, so good to see that you are still deluding yourseld and lying to the american people. You didn't run a race on vision and policies, you ran a race, much like your opponent, based on smearing your opponent. Those attack ads backfired when you claimed Jeep was moving it's production line to China. Please, for the sake of the country, stop lying to yourself, and start working togetther with the Democrats to save the country, instead of destroying it.

    November 12, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. jean martin

    that good Ryan...

    November 12, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. Sam

    Has Glover Norquist been investigated by the FBI. Is he acting as a foreign agent, working with Republicans to defeat this nation with his no tax plan. Republicans signing an alligence to Norquist and not to the voters. Is Norquist on a mission to destroy this nation. When will the FBI investigate this guy? What is his true purpose for no taxes? Is he truly an American?

    November 12, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. Reality Checker

    Still in denial... Romney/Ryan were anything BUT specific about their plans.

    They still think they lost because Obama had a better campaign infrastructure, but really Romney/Ryan just scared people away. And rightfully so.

    November 12, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. What999

    When FOX News says you set a record for number of lies in one speech... all I can say is, the citizens of Wisconsin were not fooled.

    November 12, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  16. wisconsin101

    What a class act who would have been a great VP, but least he can still serve as a rep in the house

    November 12, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. roro

    If only he had lost his seat in the House. That would have been a blessing. At least we won't have to see anymore staged cleaning of obviously perfectly clean pans. He even dragged his wife and children into that fiasco. What kind of role model was he being for his kids?

    November 12, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. gar

    It looks like the Republicans are beginning to recognize the low level of their standing with the American people. Will they finally get to work as Ryan suggests, or continue to obstruct and continue to sink further into obscurity?

    November 12, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  19. Todd in DC

    Um, Fair and Square from Lyin' Ryan? Someone has eyes on 2016, methinks.

    November 12, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  20. peakprofit

    It seems to me that Paul Ryan is a sincere guy and a nice guy. He does not necessarily represent my ideas, even though I have never once voted for a Democrat in 32 years of voting.

    He makes a statement, though, that is very telling about the contemporary GOP. He states his surprise that 'urban' voters actually voted. This means that he and Romney knew that a huge number of urban voters do not show up, frequently. That said, if you know that a huge amount of people who disagree with you don't make it to the polls, how can you be so adamant that your ideas represent those of the country. An individual in the middle of Chicago has as much value as one as a person in the farms of southern Illinois.

    This reminds me of the map that Faux News used on Election Night. They chose to highlight all the red counties. There is no doubt that more square miles are represented by the GOP. Indeed, more square miles are represented by the fringe right wing of the GOP, than the whole Democratic part. However, acres of land should not get to decide the fate of people. People should.

    BTW, this works both ways. There are more devoutly religious people opposing abortion in New York City than there are total people in states like Montana. ( Montana = 998,000 total population. NYC = 8,245,000 total population, 3,200,000 Catholics. If 33% of NYC Catholics oppose abortion, that means more than the entire population of Montana, with all those red counties.)

    November 12, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. George Busch

    Finally, something comes out of Ryan's mouth that isn't a lie.

    November 12, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. R.U. Kidding

    The Republican Party needs to face that fact that they don't represent the majority of Americans.

    November 12, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. John/kc

    So why didn't Romney offer specifics?

    November 12, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  24. J2

    I had already forgotten about that guy.

    November 13, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  25. marva

    A campaign cannot be won by merely degrading and demonizing the opponent. Had Romney/Ryan been able to put forth SPECIFICS of "their" plan for America, they may have had a chance. Obama has made mistakes. But, overall, the economy IS better than it was when he took office. We've a long way to go! But, we'll go nowhere as long as the politicians continue conducting themselves in a bipartisan way rather than working together for the good of the nation and the people. It is apparent that both parties agree that the tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 should not be permitted to expire – EXTEND THOSE TAX CUTS and give some security to THOSE taxpayers! Frankly, the "middle class" make up the majority of this nation's population ... that sense of security will allow the middle class to spend with a bit more confidence – spurring demand and revenue! Then negotiate – and compromise – upon the other matters upon which both parties do not currently agree.

    November 13, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
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