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Originally published Monday, November 12, 2012 at 9:02 PM

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Romney-ticket loss was a first for Paul Ryan

GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan talked about losing the election — the first loss in his political career.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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For Rep. Paul Ryan, Election Day as the Republican Party's vice-presidential candidate had begun with bright promise. The polls were looking good, he said. A tight national race was expected.

But as the results came in, as President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden began to roll through the battlegrounds, the outcome was becoming clear. So Ryan, his wife and three children made their way to the Boston hotel where GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his family were watching returns.

"We were with the Romneys when we knew it was over," Ryan said in a telephone interview Monday with the Journal Sentinel.

And what was the mood like in the hotel suite?

"Pretty sad," Ryan said. "And our comments more or less revolved around our concern for the country."

It was an unusual Election Day for Ryan, his first loss. He said losing was "a foreign experience. It's tough to describe it."

The 42-year-old Janesville, Wis., native did keep his congressional seat. Yet he won re-election by his smallest margin, just 11.5 points, over Democrat Rob Zerban. And Ryan couldn't deliver Wisconsin for Romney.

Despite the national defeat, Ryan said he and his wife, Janna, "benefited from the experience" of being on a national ticket.

"I know some people have come away with different conclusions on these experiences," he said. "This is a very net-positive experience for us."

"The Romneys treated us like family members," Ryan said.

"We're pleased with the race we ran. It didn't work out the way we wanted it to," he said.

Ryan said Obama "won fair and square," and "we congratulated him for that win."

"The president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him."

Ryan said he's ready to get back to work in Congress. And there is plenty of work to be done as the country faces the "fiscal cliff" over the federal budget. Ryan is the chair of the House Budget Committee, a key player who authored the Republicans' budget blueprint.

"I do want to be part of the solution," he said.

Asked if increased revenue could be part of the solution to the deficit, Ryan said, "Yes, you can increase revenues without having to raise tax rates. Our fear is that if you raise tax rates, you hurt economic growth. You hurt small businesses. So through tax reform, you can get higher revenues without damaging the economy. We think that's the better way to go."

Already, there is talk of what steps the Republican Party may have to take to reclaim the White House four years from now. And Ryan's name is prominently mentioned.

"Oh, 2016, let's not talk about that stuff," he said. "That's four years away. I think we're all tired of presidential politics at this time."

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