Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) today walked back his previous accusation that generals were lying about their support of President Obama’s Pentagon budget. On CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning, Ryan said that he had called to apologize to Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
RYAN: I really misspoke, to be candid with you, Candy. I didn’t mean to make that kind of impression. So, I was clumsy in describing the point I was trying to make. The point I was trying to make — and General Dempsey and I spoke after that. I wanted to give that point to him, which is that’s not what I was attempting to say. [...]
CROWLEY: You have apologized to him?
RYAN: Yeah, I called him to tell him that.
On ABC’s This Week, Ryan also said he “totally misspoke,” and claimed, “My issue is I think that the president’s budget on the Pentagon is a budget-driven strategy, not a strategy-driven budget.” But even that statement is a false attack on the generals.
After ThinkProgress reported earlier last week that Ryan said he doesn’t “think the generals are giving their true advice,” Gen. Dempsey explicitly said, “My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.”