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. Al-NY,NY


    @ 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.

    he's alot more than Flip Flopney and that's enough for me. Go cry to someone else

    November 13, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ""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.

    It is PRECISELY that willful inabiity to do basic MATH and stubborn adherence to re-creating FACTS that landed your boat of losers, Romney/Ryan, in the losing column on election day.
    3 million out of 117 million? Really Wilson? How about the President got 3 million MORE popular votes than Romney? How about that? Too hard for you to deal with?

    November 13, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. FLIndpendent

    Ryan was one of the architects of the obstruction and, with his win to remain in Congress, will continue on with that obstruction. Neither he or Boehner have indicated any hope that they will now work with the President and compromise on what's best for all Americans. I believe they will still try to strong arm the President but pray that those who gave our President a 2nd term will stick behind him and help him move our country forward.

    November 13, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Stephen Le Roux

    You needed to work together last time!!!!!!

    November 13, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. Anne-Florida

    The GOP just doesn't get it. They are on their way out if they think the tea party people are their best bet in elections. The tea party should organize their own party. The GOP needs revamped, their thinking is outdated. Once the tea party is a real political party, they will be on their way out also since people will really see what their motives are.

    November 13, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. trex is time to....................."RISE ABOVE"..........................

    November 13, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Thankful in November

    Finally, a gracious loser.

    November 13, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. freedom

    @ jj The states wanting to secede don't want or need a liberal's "help." They are hard-working Americans who love this country. This president wants to bring us down – thoses states don't want any part of that. He and his minions forced Obamacare down the throats of Americans and people are losing their jobs all over the country. These states want to conitnue to thrive.

    November 13, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. joyner

    You heard it from the horses now maybe this time we can work together, And why not the first time Mr.Ryan oh I know You were one of the ones that wanted a one term President. guess what didn't happen now get the work or get out of Office.

    November 13, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. Rosslaw

    Ryan couldn't deliver Wisconsin to Romney and even resulted in a new Democratic US Senator. What is it exactly he was supposed to add?

    November 13, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. JDD

    More class than Biden.
    And more sense than the one who ran with Biden.

    November 13, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |

    @ trex Rise above? Is that what all those sleazy ads about contraceptives and buying votes with Obamaphones was about? Oh, and how about trying to smear the reputation of a stellar citizen who not only has contributed to America's greatness, but given of his wealth and himself to those in need? This president is taking this country down into the gutter.

    November 13, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Hmmm

    What does he mean "this time we need to work?" Does that mean they did not work last session (at anything but blocking President Obama)? In that admission they need to charge all of the obstructionists with fraud and take their pay for the entire last term...oh and fire them.

    November 13, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |

    Gracious? What do democrats know about that word? Never witnessed it.

    November 13, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. johnsonj3

    People the election is over so get over yourselfs. Still have hate for the President because of his skin. Remember the republican would not work with him because he would be a on time President but God show everyone he was in charge. Everyone in Washington need JESUS. Amen.

    November 13, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Anonymous

    "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 ................................."

    Spend their time blogging anti-Obama messages on CNN as if the election for his second term hadn't yet occurred or now being coined a landslide victory against Mitt Romney and the Grand Old Party. A landslide Obama victory being bandied about by Grand Old Party members themselves.

    November 13, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. dzerres

    I always love when a loser has no regrets and wouldn't change anything. How sad. No regrets that he had these "God intended for you to carry your rapist's baby" guys on your side? No regret about that lying Jeep ad that even the CEO's disavowed and said were lies? No regret that you lost your own hometown and home state in the election along with Romney losing all four of his "home" states? No regrets that you vilified whole swaths of hardworking Americans as moochers when all you've ever known is a government paycheck? Delusional but keep it up – its OK with us libs.

    November 13, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Dave

    Romne\Ryan lost because their message is 100 years old nd not consistent with modern Americans. As long as the Republicants echo that ridiculous sentiment they will lose.

    November 13, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. Ruby Gumshoe

    How long do you reckon Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell will need to remain sedated after it was determined that Obama won?

    November 13, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. Canuck

    "Its totally amazing how incredibly stupid the American population was in reselecting nobama"

    I'm totally amazingly sure that you're incredibly wrong.

    November 13, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Lucinda

    I don't think it is only Obama who needs to work with Congress; I think it is time for CONGRESS to remember they are ELECTED OFFICIALS BY THE PEOPLE and they need to start working for the PEOPLE! Forget Republicans/Democrats. How about working TOGETHER for the good of this country instead of trying to bring it down?

    November 13, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Bill

    The president indicated last time he will not work with republicans. Nothing will change this time. No hope and no change.

    November 13, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Stephen

    "Freedom", please check your facts. The vast majority of "red" states TAKE more from the federal government than they put in, while the vast majority of "blue" states PUT IN more to the federal government than they get back. Your opinon of the President is about as accurate as your facts.

    November 13, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    Fair and square?

    Let's recap: President O wins by what looks like 3 points and 127 EV, 23 Dem Senate seats were reclaimed AND 2 taken from the GOP, the House majority looks smaller, latest counts show them loosing 8 seats and the final count about 234 cons to 201 libs.

    Fair and square is not what comes to mind in my universe, the word is "spanked"!(ok, I did not claim it was a mature universe)

    November 13, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. mjbrin

    "But the difference is, this time we need to work."
    it took him 4 years to figure that one out?

    November 13, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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