TODAY   |  October 17, 2012

Paul Ryan: Romney ‘won the debate’

Congressman Paul Ryan reacts to Governor Mitt Romney’s performance in the presidential town hall debate, saying his running mate won the face-off by offering people “a very concrete vision about how he’s got the experience, the knowledge.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> congressman paul ryan is mitt romney 's running mate. congressman, good morning to you. nice to have you here.

>> good morning, matt.

>> yeah. i'm not going to ask you who won. i think that's too easy for you, but a lot of the reporting said the president was the aggressor and may have won back some of the momentum lost after the first debate. would you agree with that?

>> well, he clearly changed his tactic. they said that he would change his tactic but his answers didn't change. he didn't offer new idea about how the next four years would be any different than the last four years. the reason why i think mitt romney won this debate is because he gave the country a very clear choice and a very clear vision for about how we have a leader that will create jobs, grow the economy and get people back to work. look, it's not going well right now for our economy. it's not going well right now for the middle class . mitt romney offered people a very concrete vision about how he's got the experience, the knowledge to get people back to work to grow the economy. that's why i think he won this debate.

>> you and mitt romney want to cut marginal tax rates 20% across the board. you don't want to add to the deficit. you don't want to raise taxes on the middle class . a voter last night asked governor romney for specifics about which deductions would go away, and governor romney did not answer with specifics. the president jumped on that. vice president biden with savannah just jumped on that. i've looked back at your interviews, congressman, over the last couple of months on this subject. do you not offer specifics. why?

>> look, first of all, six independent studies showed that you can do exactly as we are suggesting. second of all, what mitt romney learned as a republican governor of a democratic state and what i've learned in getting bipartisan legislation moving is that you don't go to congress and say here's all of our details, take it or leave it. you say this is my framework. let's lower tax rates across the board, close loopholes for high-income people, make sure middle income taxpayers are protected.

>> congress, where's the leadership, and you're a numbers guy?

>> right. and here's what i know, matt. if you say to congress take it or leave it, here's my plan, my way or the highway, you don't get things done. look, i understand that's how the president operates. i understand that that's what they did the first two years they came in with one-party rule. we don't plan on governing like that, matt. we plan on reaching across the aisle and finding consensus. the good news is there are democrats who agree with us.

>> right.

>> lowering tax rates , broadening the tax base and here's what mitt romney did say. you can have a number for the middle class to use, whichever deductions they think are important to them to protect them from tax increases.

>> he said $25,000. last night he offered possibly 50,000 in the first debate. he's used the number 17,000. all i'm asking is as you're asking undecided voters --

>> that's right.

>> -- to close the deal for you here, don't those voters have a right to know exactly what they are getting?

>> they have a right to know our bottom lines. there are three bottom lines. we're not going to raise the dev dit. not going to raise taxes on middle class taxpayers or raise the share of the tax burden borne by the higher income people but this is a plan -- this tax reform plan, this structure doing what we say, that creates about 7 million jobs right there in and of itself. that's a pretty good juxtaposition against the president's tax increase on small businesses which will cost us over 700,000 jobs.

>> on the subject of libya, i want to talk about it, not the exchange. i think there's been a lot said about that this morning, but it led to another interesting exchange where the president firmly and pointedly chastised governor romney for politicizing a tragedy like this, a national tragedy. the father of ambassador stevens said, quote, it would be really abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue. so i want your response not to the president but to the father of ambassador stevens.

>> well, i would first say to him i think they had their memorial service yesterday, that we mourn his loss. this man did so much to serve our country, as did the other three americans who lost their lives, but what we owe chris stevens what, we owe these americans who gave their lives are to make sure that we get to the bottom of this so we can prevent something like that from happening again. that's what's so troubling about this story is that as the facts have come out it doesn't speak well as to how the administration has handled this. we know that they asked for more security. they didn't get it. we know that our marines guarding our ambassador in paris but not benghazi where there's al qaeda .

>> weren't both sides guilty of a lapse of judgment on this story?

>> say that one more time.

>> weren't both sides guilty of a rush to judgment in the immediate aftermath of this attack?

>> well, i don't think that they should have sent their u.n. ambassador out five days later to say that this was from a spontaneous mob reacting to a youtube video . i don't think the president should have gone to the u.n. and talked about the youtube video and talk two weeks before saying it was a terror attack . even the state department didn't back up that story. me, mitt romney and myself and republicans in congress were saying let's get to the bottom of this to prevent something like this from happening again.