Paul Ryan questions Obama's grasp of economy
January 27th, 2013
12:09 PM ET
8 years ago

Paul Ryan questions Obama's grasp of economy

(CNN) - Former GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan said Sunday that President Barack Obama doesn't appreciate the seriousness of the nation's economic situation. "I don't think that the president actually thinks we're having a fiscal crisis," Ryan said.

Appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," his first live national television interview since last year's election, Ryan shared his thoughts on the nation's fiscal health and whether he'll run for president in 2016.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

Ryan defended his tough prescriptions for the economy: "We're not preaching austerity, we're preaching growth and opportunity. What we're saying is, 'If you get our fiscal ship fixed, you pre-empt austerity.'"

Major battles are set to take place this spring between Congress and the White House on issues from the government's budget to raising the debt ceiling.

Last week, the House passed a bill which would effectively put off the debt ceiling crisis until mid-May, giving lawmakers time to find a longer-term solution on the issue. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he will seek to pass the bill and Obama said he would sign it.

But there's more. If Congress doesn't act by March 27, federal spending will be completely suspended and the government would be forced to shut down until lawmakers can agree on spending and taxes.

READ MORE: Ryan expects second Obama term to help future GOP chances

The other issue has to do with the so-called "sequester" cuts, which Congress postponed for two months following the fiscal cliff deal at the beginning of this year. Those cuts would slash critical items from the budget of both defense and some nondefense aspects of the government to help save money - but they're cuts neither party wants.

Ryan said he doesn't think the country is facing a government shutdown this spring, but he predicted the sequester cuts will happen.
"We can't lose those spending cuts. That was to pay for the last debt ceiling increase, let alone any future increases," Ryan said.

"We think the sequesters will happen because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they've offered no alternatives," he added.

Ryan is the face of these issues for the GOP, so it's clear he's going to have a lot on his plate over the next few months.

But many wonder if he's going to make a run for president in 2016. He said Sunday it was simply premature to speculate on what he might do in four years, especially while needing to deal with these immediate fiscal issues.

Still, he did take time to reflect on the 2012 election.

"It was a great experience, I feel that I benefited tremendously from that," Ryan said. "Mitt Romney would have been one heck of a great president. He's a very good man. And the big regret I have is that we didn't win the election and that we weren't able to put the kinds of reforms that we think are right for the country in place."

- CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2016 • Debt • Deficit • Paul Ryan
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. REGinAZ

    Take a sheet of paper and draw a line, lengthwise, down the middle. Now think about the last thirteen years and consider everything the Republicans have said and done, all they aggressively faulted, stubbornly blocked, arrogantly pushed, strongly advocated and constantly supported, consider all the propaganda as empty rhetoric aimed to con the people and manipulate public opinion and then list everything that benefited the very wealthy, the 2%, "the money" on one side and everything that was to serve the majority, the people, the 98% on the other side. When you finish you should have no doubt that the current Republican Party is completely owned and controlled as "puppets" aiming to serve only "the money", their masters and strong supporters ... and if that isn't the case, if you don't see that, then go through it all once more and this time be honest.

    January 27, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. RINO Bill

    Well I would like to ask a notorious and blatant liar like Paul Ryan if he know what it means to be Christian. Remember that the Catholic Church teaches that lies are sins. Maybe Ryan should think about that before he opens his mouth ... or he should just a job with Fox News.

    January 27, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Romney Looza

    "Mitt Romney would have been one heck of a great president. He's a very good man. And the big regret I have is that we didn't win the election and that we weren't able to put the kinds of reforms that we think are right for the country in place."

    January 27, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. retief1954

    Paul Ryan – NOT the best source of information for finding out what President Obama thinks about the debt, the economy, taxes – about anything. In general the Republicans' caricature of Obama is laughable on all levels. They're out there trying to say he's a socialist (!), that he doesn't "understand" the gravity of what goes on around him, all sorts of absurd, ridiculous things.
    The good news is, America now sees Paul Ryan, other congressional Republicans, and the Republican party generally, for exactly what they are. And that's why American voters didn't allow Republicans to even sniff the presidency. It's why American voters started turning out congressional Republican incumbents and turning away Republican candidates. Expect the trend to continue in '14 and '16, as Republicans continue to publicly insist on their own "facts" that everyone else understands to be untrue, only partially true, or presented to Americans without critical context needed to evaluate the reality. Repubs can't help it, it's just what they do, led by the redoubtable Rush Limbaugh and the blatherers on FOX.
    For the record, Mr. Ryan, despite your silly assertion on Sunday TV, we're all quite certain that the President is fully aware of America's fiscal crisis, and understands how to address it in a methodical, logical way that ultimately will make our society fairer, more fiscally sound, and less likely to be pushed off any more fiscal cliffs by you and your cohorts. And if I were you, I would avoid trying to stack my experience and knowledge up against the President's. I don't much like your chances in that confrontation. Go back to posting workout pics of yourself on Facebook.

    January 27, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Crooked Bridge

    What Ryan does not seem to understand that his party is at much to blame for our financial woes as anyone one else and as long as they continue to shirk that responsibility, they will have no credibility. They just need to admit that tax cuts and two wars did not put us on a positive course.

    January 27, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |

    I wonder if Ryan has a grasp of reality.

    January 27, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Yeoomala

    Did someone not tell Paul Ryan that the campaign is over and Obama won? Maybe he doesn't grasp reality!

    January 27, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Income from $ 25000 to $40000 Family with 2 kids are struggling
    They don’t live in food stamp, they don’t live government housing they own their home they pay their bills on time one goal they have good education for their kids
    The problem is they couldn’t save a penny for their kids’ college. Cost of living is very high now
    If republicans promise, they will bring Cost of living low they can win

    January 27, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. jt

    All cuts and no revenue... can't run the government on ideology. Look at greece and other EU countries and the prove that only austerity works is a false hood. Oh but lets not look around and learn lets just plow ahead with our outdated philosophy

    January 27, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. stevetall

    Why all the coverage for this clown? He lost the election for a reason, and it had absolutely nothing to do with his concern for the president's understanding of the economy. I believe it had everything to do with his, and his party's, inability to understand the reality of life in America and life on Earth. Shove off, Mr. Ryan. There's some cheese in your home state that needs tending, and I'm confident that you can handle that job and not much more.

    January 27, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. emr

    "Mitt Romney would have been one heck of a great president. He's a very good man."

    Guess what? More people disagreed than agreed with you. Get over it.

    January 27, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Richard

    Obama is not an economist, Obama has hired bankers to lead his economic team, the banks are benefiting, the people are suffering. Not one banker has gone to jail for the economic disaster they caused. Not one banker has even been charged with a crime. Instead the banks got bailed, the continue taking outrageous bonuses, 5 have been branded as too big to "ever" fail and no new noticeable regulation have been put in place.
    It appears to me that the banks have gotten away with murder, they infiltrated US economic team (or were intentionally invited in) and the Obama administration has turned out to be the golden goose that never stops laying the golden eggs for all large banks. What a shame, this is not what candidate Obama promised but it is what president Obama delivered!

    January 27, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. WhereIsPalin

    I'd love to have Paul Ryan be the spokesperson for the economic policies of the GOP.

    January 27, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Kenny K

    Well, the majority picked what they think is right for the country.

    January 27, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. CAWinMD

    Paul Ryan can not be allowed to redefine "austerity". Austerity means cutting back severely on services. That's what England did, and they immediately went into a double-dip recession. It's great that Ryan and Republicans believe that will jump-start the economy, but there is little empirical evidence that it would. Too many times Republicans have redefined a problem beyond all recognition (think death panels and death tax) in order to serve their political ends. They must not be allowed to do that in this case.

    As for Obama's grasp of the economy, he seems to know better than Ryan that the immediate term problem is getting people back to work and allow the economic recovery to pick up pace. Cutting Social Security benefits and Medicare will not get more people to work. Providing a plan on how the government plans to manage its debt and invest in infrastructure to support the 21st century business climate would be useful to businesses to provide certainty so they know how to invest the money they are sitting on. The only thing preventing that is Republicans forcing the government to plan two months at a time rather than just sitting down and solving the d*mn problems.

    January 27, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Reggie from LA

    How do we know that Ryan isn't lying about HIS grasp of the economy? How do we know that Ayn Rand isn't his economist of choice? You know, the self-inflicted plight of the proletariat class and all that. Ryan was the "Boy Wonder" of the GOP. A little aged for boyish references, but considering the age of national lawmakers, well, ok. I just wonder who that boy thinks he is and what makes him such a wonder. Is this an early stand for a shot at the Primaries podium for 2016? Still trying to shape his economic plan (known failure) into our national plan? It just doesn't stop. Ol' lyin Ryan.

    January 27, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. Dave Harris

    This is the guy who wants to "fix" the country by putting the old people on a voucher limit so they can't live too long. No one will pay any taxes and money will magically appear out of thin air. His "proposals" have been considered a fraud by every legitimate economist. What's really disturbing is that he's what passes for an "intellectual" in today's dumbed-down and crazified Republican party.

    January 27, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. James

    Obama doesn't have a clue about the economy. Can't even balance a check book–

    January 27, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. rs

    Let's see: Federal deficit- down 31%; stock market within 400 points of where it was before the Bush Crash of '07; unemployment-down; housing-up.

    Apparently Mr. Obama bows more than the "cut taxes and spend" ploutocratic Republicans like the "taker" Ryan.

    January 27, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. rs

    I wonder if Ryan has a grasp of reality.
    He is a Republican, by definition, he does not.

    January 27, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Dilip Samuels

    Paul Ryan should keep low...his economic plan was low key from Roney
    Ryan sould like the TURKEY question from Rand to Clinton......Jindal was right....the stupid party HAS TOO MANY RYANS

    January 27, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Tom

    Blah, blah, blah. What scares me is Republicans have been repeating this crap for so long they can no longer even see the flaws in their logic. The "fiscal crisis" has largely been manufactured by Republicans. Where was Ryan's outrage when he voted to allow George W. Bush to start two wars, add Medicare Part D and authorize TARP without providing any means of paying for it? Republicans didn't seem to have an issue with raising the debt ceiling when Bush was in office. Now it's a terrible sin. "I don't think that the president actually thinks we're having a fiscal crisis" is probably one of the most honest things Ryan has ever said. We're not having a fiscal crisis - we're have a obstructionist Republican crisis.

    January 27, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Obama this and Obama that, again Ryan like the rest of the Repugs still don't understand why they lost and they will loose again if they continue focusing on President Obama instead of the American people who overwhelmingly voted for him. Ryan is joining the loosing bunch of Gingrich's, Sununu, Limbaugh's et al who all played a significant part for the Republicans failures and there are still many.

    January 27, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Jules

    Ryan doesn't understand anything about the people of this country – he is simply more comfortable with numbers and pretending that they all add up and won't have a devestating effect on people's lives that will then have to be handled in a new, and very expensive way.

    January 27, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Jules

    If someone making 400,000 a year is struggling they must be doing something wrong in the management of their household income. Look at the house you live in – look at the numbers and kind of cars your family drives – that right there may be part of the problem. The GOP cas say they will lower the cost of living, but they can't do it.

    January 27, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
1 2