Fayetteville, NC - Despite voting in favor of the so-called sequester last summer, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan continued to place all of the blame for the "reckless, devastating defense cuts" on President Obama.
At a campaign stop just outside Fort Bragg, Ryan called on the president to provide details on the looming cuts: "Put up or shut up."
"The president needs to show us how he plans on putting this in place if he is not going to help us pass legislation preventing it in the first place, so we're now waiting for that answer," Ryan said, referring to a bill passed in July by both the House and Senate which requires the administration to give a breakdown of defense cuts that could be implemented if Congress doesn't reach a budget solution by the end of the year.
President Obama signed the Sequestration Transparency Act in the beginning of August but no numbers have yet been released.
Republicans are pushing a narrative that President Obama somehow pushed the sequester idea, but both aisles of Congress approved the mechanism, which will kick in automatically if a budget solution isn't reached by the end of the year. Spokesman Mike Steel rejected the notion Ryan voted for sequestration by pointing to the congressman's subsequent effort to block the defense cuts and replace them with cuts in domestic spending.
"What Chairman Ryan voted for was a bipartisan deficit reduction," said Steel. "The president instead went AWOL on the campaign trail."
Congress is currently in deadlock over a budget deal, with the debated centered around a disagreement over tax increases. The administration has indicated confidence that Congress will reach a compromise and avoid the automatic across-the-board defense cuts; the Defense Department has said that it doesn't plan against such "absurdities."
White House Spokesman Jay Carney blamed Republicans for the budget impasse Thursday, saying "Republican leaders have been very clear they will hold hostage tax cuts for 98% of the American people" on behalf of "millionaires and billionaires."
At the defense industry roundtable today, Ryan said he can't predict what the White House or the Senate will do during the lame duck session but promised he and Mitt Romney would ensure that it wouldn't happen.
"I don't want to get too technical but in January, our intention is if we don't fix it in the Lame Duck is to fix it retroactively once a new session of Congress takes place," said Ryan.
The VP candidate appeared to be caught off guard when he fielded an audience question regarding Army General Martin Dempsey's recent criticism of former special ops who are accusing the president of leaking classified information.
"I'm not familiar with that. I had Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey come to my committee and testify on the sequester," Ryan said, apparently confusing her question about freedom of speech with the conversation on the budget.
Rep. Renee Ellmers, who was sitting beside him, sought clarification "I think if I'm not mistaken, are you referring to the recent release or statements by some of the former special forces?"
Ryan responded, "Oh, on the bin Laden raid," indicating his familiarity with the subject. Ellmers said she believed military retirees have the "right to speak your mind" and the two four-star generals sitting next to her said it's important not to compromise sensitive information in national security missions. The vice presidential canddiate did not weigh in on the matter.