August 30th, 2012
06:30 PM ET

Paul Ryan on Mitt Romney's speech, GM plant and VP debate prep

Today vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan sat down with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida. Ryan to Blitzer regarding GM plant in Janesville, “Well, it's still idle. The president is, this is the story of the Obama economy - a man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring. He got elected.  He put his policies in place and the plant still shut down.” Highlights from the interview are below and a full transcript will be posted on This interview aired today on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer in the 4 p.m. ET hour.

Please credit all usage of the information to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Highlight from the Interview
WOLF BLITZER, HOST:  A couple of things from your speech last night.  Erskine Bowles here and the - the Bowles-Simpson Commission, you were a member of that.  You criticized the president for saying he rejected the recommendations, but you rejected the recommendations, as well.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And in the next paragraph of my speech, I said we offered alternatives.  So if you don't like this idea, then offer your own.  That's what we did in the House.

And what I did was I took what we thought were the best ideas from Bowles-Simpson then added other ideas to it and passed it.

President Obama did none of that.  President Obama said I don't like this plan and offered nothing in return.

BLITZER:  But he did - he did come up close to the deal with John Boehner.  They were...

RYAN:  That was...

BLITZER:  - they were negotiating...

RYAN:  - that wasn't even close to actually fixing the problems.  It was a small or a medium sized deal.

Look, cutting a back room deal that gives you plausible deniability is not leadership.  Offering a plan, submitting a budget to Congress that fixes the problem, that's leadership.  And we haven't seen it for four years from President Obama.


BLITZER:  Now, they - the GM plant in Janesville.  You're - you're getting some grief on that. Do you want to revise and amend...

RYAN:  No, I don't want to revise...

BLITZER:  - what you had in - what you said? And just to remind our viewers, you said that the president came there.  And he did come there...

RYAN:  Yes.

BLITZER:  - in February of 2008 and he said, you know, if the government takes action, you guys will have a plant here...

RYAN:  Right.

BLITZER:  - for 100 years.

RYAN:  That's right.

BLITZER:  But they announced that plant was shutting down in June of 2008.  That was during the Bush administration.

RYAN:  Well, it's still idle.  The president is, this is the story of the Obama economy - a man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring. He got elected.  He put his policies in place and the plant still shut down.  My friends who - who I went to high school with...

BLITZER:  But that was a decision...

RYAN:  - are still not working there.

BLITZER:  - General Motors made.

RYAN:  I'm not saying it was his decision.  I'm saying he came and made these promises, makes these commitments, sells people on the notion that he's got to do all these great achievements and then none of them occur.

These are empty promises that become broken promises and that's the story of the Obama economy.  He said he was going to cut the deficit in half in four years.  We're nowhere close.  He said unemployment, if he passed his stimulus, would never go above 8 percent.  It's been up above 8 percent ever since.
so what we have here are a man who ran for prom - for president with grandiose plans and promises, great rhetoric, none of the results.

BLITZER:  But you were with him when he saved the auto industry, though.  You supported that legislation.

RYAN:  Yes, I - I voted for the bill in the House, which would have prevented TARP from being used for auto.  And this was under the Bush administration.

BLITZER:  Right.

RYAN:  I didn't like the idea of TARP being used, so I voted for a bill which would have prevented TARP from being used, which is open-ended.  We're now $25 billion and counting in lost taxpayer dollars. I voted for a bill which would have far more minimized that.  But President Obama and President Bush used TARP for it.


BLITZER:  How are you preparing for your debate with Joe Biden?

RYAN:  By preparing.

BLITZER:  What are you doing?

RYAN:  Well, I'm - I'm studying.  I'm reading Joe Biden's speeches, reading Joe - watching Joe Biden tape and just studying on all of the various issues.

BLITZER:  He's pretty good.

RYAN:  He's good, but I've been in Congress 14 years and this is what we do, especially in the House.  The Senate, they don't debate as often and as frequently.  That's all we do in the House, is we debate.  I love debating.  That's one of the things I like about this job.


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