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. jim

    Ryan statement proves the House did not care to get anything done the first 4 years. Maybe things will change.

    November 13, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So I guess his losing the Top Ticket race in Wisconsin also means he probably won't be running for State-wide office anytime soon. At least McCain/Palin carried Alaska and Arizona. Romney/Ryan lost Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin. Although they did win in Utah, where neither of them ever lived!

    November 13, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. Wilson

    ""The President is not being brash and bragadocious about the incredible butt whipping he bestowed on Romney and his Party by extension.""
    Me thinks that 3 million out of 117 million and a minority in congress, does not an "incredible butt whipping," make.

    November 13, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. Wake up People!

    Ryan you might need to tell that to some of your sheeple as 20 states have submitted petitions to secede from the United States. They are all mostly red states with a few blue. Michigan or Michissippi as I refer to it included.

    Pathetic sore losers. Keep up the good work republicans!

    November 13, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. Marlene the Dream

    Rep. Ryan, I'm very glad that you're defusing claims that the election was won by any other means than fair voting. But, your statement of having specific solutions falls short . . that's one reason voters turned away from you.
    I hope the GOP, particularly the House, will work with the President this time around. We all need that very badly.

    November 13, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    A little sad

    Now that Obama won "fair & square", how long will it be until Romney revise his tax return to claim additional deductions?

    all those deductions he opted out of to make himself "one of us" was a joke. Reclaim them and get your <10% rate there Flip. BTW, how's the car elevator working?

    November 13, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  7. john

    That was a close one. Good thing resident Obama will be in the White House four more years!! Things will improve now. With Romney we would have stepped back !!!!

    November 13, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |

    Only Romney can save us from total destruction. The USA is dead. Freedom is gone. Liberty is flushed. Nothing remains for the Righteous. God has forsaken the United States of America.

    November 13, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Vic

    "won fair and square"

    This is the first time he has actually said the truth this past year.

    I guess getting such a beatdown like that will make you see things differently.........

    November 13, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    Oh yeah Ryan, you and your buddies need to start doing the work we hired you to do, if not come next election, you and your cronies may find yourselves unemployed, just like your bully bishop Willard.

    November 13, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. chris

    Gee. Thanks Paul Ryan for telling us that we won fair and square. I was really wondering.

    November 13, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. Madison

    ayn ryan is clearly thinking he will run in 2016. But his radicalism will be even less acceptable then as we will be well into a period of economic growth.

    November 13, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. bckrd1

    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."

    Then by this statement he meant to lie to us constantly. He meant to do whatever slimey thing they could do to deceive the American people in order to win.

    He created all that debt he wants to blame on Obama. He voted for all of it. Now he is seen as the fiscal wonk to fix it? What convoluted thinking is that? The Republican game plan is simple. Create massive debt, scream the sky is falling, cutting social programs is the only way to save us from disaster. and raising taxes on billionaires and millionaires will kill us and only the poor should pay more in every way possible.

    November 13, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. clubschadenfreude

    Poor Mr. Ryan. It seems that although he can say Obama won fair and square (kind of hard to ignore reality), he still doesn't realize that he and his running mate did not have any specific solutions or big ideas. They ran on trying to keep any ideas they had for the economy a secret, controlling women, and on trying to create a theocracy based on a verion of a religion that not all Americans agree with. If he doesn't get that those things caused him to lose, he'll repeat those same mistakes again.

    November 13, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  15. Nathan

    I don't recall hearing any specific solutions or big ideas from Romney/Ryan except for the ones where Romney agreed with Obama after lambasting him for the same ideas months ago. This ticket was aloser form the start and ust snowballed when Ryan was picked. Ryan looked really small on the national stage.

    November 13, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |

    "TRENDING: Ryan says Obama won 'fair and square' "
    President Obama won IN SPITE OF
    -Billions of dollars spent to defeat him by super PACs
    -Republican control of statehouses
    -Republican voter suppression laws
    -lies lies and more lies
    -and every other republican dirty trick they could pull trying to make Obama a one term president
    Paul "LOOK AT ME I'M WORKIN IN A SOUP KITCHEN"Ryan can kick rocks!

    November 13, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. Pete

    Ryan has no choice saying that because everyone around them are sour grapes.Pres.Obama stayed on track with his messages while Romney zigged and zagged changing his stances like the wind in a hurricane,every which way but never the same,never on message...Romney campaign ran on diciption,never giving anything concrete just answering questions with no answers..You can't run campaigns like that but the uninformed,uneducated hypocritical republicans took him anyway hook,line and sinker because of their parties racist ways ,you can't deny it and if your party doesn't evolve you'll most likely go extinct as a party of the people..Either change or be gone by midterms,the choice is yours,the party of angry old white men are the new minority,get used to it or quit!!

    November 13, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  18. Al-NY,NY


    Only Romney can save us from total destruction. The USA is dead. Freedom is gone. Liberty is flushed. Nothing remains for the Righteous. God has forsaken the United States of America.

    you are 8 days too late. Flip is having a great time going up and down on the car elevator while Queen Ann sits on her dressage horse kicking dirt on the little people

    November 13, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  19. Tim Brown

    Every fair minded person knew Romney was behind in the polls. What was Ryan's problem.

    Shame on Gallup, Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen.

    November 13, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. Max


    Romney was a farce...the worst presidential candidate in the history of the United States of American. Up until today most of us cannot figure out waht he was actually saying, what his policies on the major issues were, and how he would govern as an 'ETCH-A-SKETCH' president.

    He himslef was not certain of where he stands on Obamacare, Abortion, Education, an Immigration. On immigration in particular he postulated that illegal immigrants should be made to suffer to the extent that they self deport...the shows no emphathy with the poor and suffering.

    Santorum has proven so right in saying that Romney was the worst candidate among the pack to run against Obama. Romney ended up embarrassing himself and the party, in addition to confusing the electorate. Picking someone like Paul Ryan who had NO message of his own made things worst for the Republicans.

    Romney was a FARCE...for certain! And so was Ryan.

    November 13, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  21. BCW - NYC

    Republicans lives in a bubble created by the right wing media like Fox News and other loud mouth talkshow hosts. Wake up and open your eyes and ears, GOP. People of color and immigrants are going to be the majority of the voters in most of the states by 2016 and 2020. Stop saying stupid things about rape and self-deportation; but work with the Democrates with compromises for better policy in the house.

    November 13, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. Chelopez54

    Paul Ryan- you are on notice- We were busy getting the President IN- you and romney -OUT. We are watching and will not forget. We The Women will vote to keep you OUT of any future offices you seek in the future.
    you may be in office now- But we are watching and we are waiting- Our vote will KEEP you out!
    It is a promise!

    November 13, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  23. freedom

    @ Al – NY And you actually think Obama is "one of us?" You were manipulated and lied to, and believed the lies, and every citizen in America is going to suffer from it. The policies he's about to cement into our system will not only affect us, but the generations to come.

    November 13, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  24. Willie Floyd

    Many Dems and Indeps. thought mid-terms weren't important and stayed home in 2010. I feel certain they won't make the same mistake in 2014. Maybe we can clear the House of some more right wing extremists-i.e. Tea Partiers!

    RE: Secessionists-Let them if that's the way they feel!! Let them lose all their gov't. benefits-closing military bases and yelling for FEMA when they have a flood or tornado or other natural disaster!! More power to them.

    November 13, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  25. jj

    Regarding the red states who petitioned for secession...I know it must just be symbolic for some of them, but there are nuts as well who really mean it and I find it ironic that the states with the lowest education, and the highest need for federal aid...are the ones who don't want the support that the liberals will give them. If they actually could secede, the other 30 states would grow in strength exponentially. Not saying I want it, because after all they are our brothers and sisters.

    November 13, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
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