In his first interview since losing the election, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wouldn’t admit that voters rejected his economic vision and instead chalked up President Obama’s victory to a large turnout of the “urban vote.” “I don’t think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare, we clearly didn’t lose it on those issues,” Ryan to local station WISC-TV. “I think the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race.”
But Ryan’s post-election analysis contrasts sharply with his view of the race before Election Day. Throughout the campaign, Ryan — who was selected for the ticket because of his budget plan — insisted that the race presented voters with a “choice” between two different economic paths for the nation and repeatedly tried to sell the merits of his proposal on the stump. Republican lawmakers bragged that should the GOP ticket win, “they can justly claim a mandate” to push through Ryan’s initiatives. Here are just three examples of the former Vice Presidential candidate making the same argument:
— “The president, I’m told, is talking about Medicare today… We want this debate. We need this debate. And we will win this debate.” [8/16/2012]
— “We have a big choice to make. We’re not just picking the next president for a few years. We are picking the pathway for America for a generation.” [8/27/2012]
— “We’re entering what we call the debate and choice phase of this campaign. And we’re going to give the people of this country the right and opportunity to choose a different path.” [10/01/2012]
Indeed, Obama made raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans a centerpiece of his campaign and voters overwhelmingly agreed with his approach. Exit polls showed that 6 in 10 voters nationwide say they think taxes should be increased and Ryan’s budget proposal played an important role in Senate races where Democrats picked up seats.
And while seniors backed Romney/Ryan at the same rate as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008, a survey commissioned by the AFL-CIO “showed that by 64 to 17 percent, voters want to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and address the deficit by increasing taxes on the rich, rather than address the deficit by cutting entitlements.”